This past week, my godson took note that since my husband and I are his godparents, he is part of our family. Since he is also part of his immediate family, he observed that it’s like we are all one big family. How awesome is that?
Over the last few days, I’ve been thinking about just how “extended” our family has become over the years – those we served with, whom my former Marine husband stills calls “brother”, the college friends we cared for through sickness and through health, the small group friends who preserved my sanity while I agonized through months of bed rest with my first pregnancy and the handful of others who at some point in my life moved past the traditional definition of “friend”.
After a decade of friendship, I confessed to my dear friend, and mother of my darling godson, that when we’d first met, I’d been able to immediately see what good friends our husbands would become. I had not, however, thought our friendship would become one I cherished so deeply. I, a Finance major, thought I would have little in common with the liberal social worker standing before me. One afternoon, she even invited me to something called “The Vagina Monologue”. Gulp. Now that was an experience for this sheltered conservative!
Over the years, one of my more defining characteristics seems to be that without a conscious effort, I am quite soft spoken. This becomes ironic in contrast with one of my most treasured friends, who also happens to be one of the loudest people I know. I am Christian, she is an atheist. She is liberal, I am conservative. I indulge my girls in their princess phase, she teaches her daughter to look past gender stereotypes. We naturally gravitate to opposing views on almost any issue.
So what glues together such opposites? How does one have a great big, happy framily: friends who have gone beyond the traditional definition of friend and have become like family? The concept of adopting dissimilar people into a family isn’t a new concept, after all, our Heavenly Father adopts us as His sons and daughters when we choose to trust Jesus.
Of course we cannot offer eternal salvation, or even give someone an identity as a son or daughter of The King, so how can we imperfect creatures foster a framily? I think this type of unity is born from love, loyalty and respect. A crisis will teach you who truly loves you – when others are busy or overcome by apathy, framily will not only show up, but also do what it takes to make the situation better. When your life is touched by someone who loves you enough to show up for you, invest in them. And should you have a difference of opinion, respect the other person enough to love them for their opinion. Our job on this earth is to love, not judge one another. Let’s all stop looking for “perfect” friends and start allowing those around us to bless us, just how they are. After all, true friendship isn’t jealous, it doesn’t boast and isn’t proud. You never know, you may receive the greatest blessing from those you wouldn’t expect to have a strong connection. Can you imagine what kind of world we would live in if we starting truly loving and embracing one another in friendship and encouragement, rather than discouraging each other? What would each day look like if we actually followed Jesus’ command to us: “Love each other the same way I have loved you.” John 15:12