What a Difference a Friend Makes!
The older I get, the more I realize that friendships are like pajamas. Sometimes they hug you way too closely, making you feel as though you can’t breathe without a bit more space … other times, they drape so loosely about your shoulders that they end up making you feel exposed to the very elements around you.
I have several pairs of pajamas in my drawer at home. There are the ones that have been bought for me and given as gifts, and then are the ones that I have carefully sought out on my own — these are the ones I cling to, no matter how tattered and torn they become.
When someone buys me a pair of pajamas, I usually smile politely and thank them … but always, in the back of my mind, I tend to think, “Hmmm! We’ll see how this works out!” Oh, it’s not that I’m a difficult person to please. Rather, the problem seems to be that I am just a very difficult “fit.”
To me, pajamas are something that are intensely personal. They must be fitted and sized correctly so as to not wad up around me in the night. They must be absolutely perfect in fabric and texture so as not to be too cold or too hot. And they should always be the appropriate color and pattern in order to truly reflect the person who snuggles up inside them for the duration of the evening. This is what makes pajamas such a difficult gift to receive … I mean, how well does the giver really know the receiver of such an intimate apparel?
Just as the gift of a new set of pajamas can often lend doubtful questions to its receiver, new “friends” who enter our lives, seemingly wrapped in pretty ribbons and bows, expecting us to accept their absolute and total commitment to us at face value, can often be a daunting task to encounter. Such “friends” often become offended if the red carpet is not rolled out for them without question or hesitation, and any association we have with them often declines quickly to the state of being obligatory in nature.
These so-called “friendships” rarely withstand the test of time. Their foundations, being built primarily upon insecurities and icy thin sheaths of obscurity, usually shatter like glass when hardship comes because there is nothing more than their superficial crusts of empty smiles on which one may depend in times of despair.
In a world of perfect pajama friendships, I hope to always be the kind that cannot be thrown out. You know the kind I’m speaking of … the ones that have been tattered and torn, yet withstood the test of time and still endure. These are the ones that, although they may not be the most beautiful set of garments to ever grace another’s physique, still they wrap in bundled warmth from head to toe and make you feel like you’re always home — no matter how far from home you actually may be.
In John 15: 11-13, Jesus gives us the ultimate explanation and definition of perfect friendship …
11These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
If I am to always endeavor to be a true friend to others, then I must first always make it a top priority to very carefully weigh the characteristics of a true friendship against those of an unfaithful friendship in order to stand in the gap of trust for someone else before expecting someone else to do the same for me.
For such a task at hand, let me always be faithful and true in word and deed to those around me … and to always be salt and light as a true follower of Jesus Christ our Lord.