We need friends who will tell us the truth,
even when and especially when
we don’t want to hear it.
We need friends who will tell us
when we are full of it
and can tell when we are empty.
We need friends who can look us in the eye
and tell us to quit feeling sorry for ourselves
even when they actually do.
We need friends who can say “I love you”
in a way that lets us know
they really mean it.
We need friends who can remind us
of what we really believe
without making us doubt them or ourselves.
We need friends who hold us to our better selves,
who can see the pain in the middle of a laugh
and yet also laugh in the middle of the pain.
We need friends who will leave us alone
without ever leaving us lonely
but are still willing to risk being wrong
about thinking we might need some company anyway.
We need friends who aren’t afraid of our anger,
who know the danger of the shadows
and who don’t mind the scars that sometimes come
from doing together the things that scare us.
We need friends who are open
to the leading of the Spirit,
who love living in the nearness of fellowship
and know that closeness can span a thousand miles.
We need friends who would rather risk
making us mad than pretend that gladness
can actually exist in the midst of madness
or that carrying a grudge somehow makes you stronger.
We need friends who know they must sometimes
let us walk a little slower for a while
but also know that having a limp
is no excuse for going the wrong way.
We need friends
who know that we need friends
and who expect—and even demand—
that we give as good as we get
and share with us the knowing
that we all have been given
better than we deserve.
And are grateful for that knowing.