Writing in company with the Five Minute Friday bunch on the prompt word, “friend”

Go!

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Friends come and friends go, like beautiful threads in the weaving of a life. One golden strand may appear and reappear, here and there, throughout the cloth, others will fill in an odd bit of color and then appear no more. Sometimes this will happen with a whole group of different yarns—there together in a cluster for a while, then gone.

Friendship weaves an irregular tapestry in this era of transience and fragmentation. If we all lived only in the same village in which we were born, and traveled no further than twenty or thirty miles from there all our lives (and had no internet!), what a different picture our friendships would make: perhaps an even weave, a regular, steady, and reliable plaid. But then, probably not, for where that kind of lifestyle occurred, death also occurred more frequently, at earlier ages, and the plaid could go quite out of symmetry anyway.

Yet when I saw this weeks’s prompt word, “Friend,” the first two things that actually popped into my head were a Bible verse and a line from a song: “There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother,” and “What a Friend we have in Jesus.” It might sound cliché, but I have found it true. Ever since I found this extraordinary friendship over four decades ago, it has never let me down, never abandoned me or died or evaporated. This Friend has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” and made good on the promise.

I read a few years ago of roadsides staked with billboards declaring, “God is an imaginary friend.”* (My emphasis.)

“Whoah!” I thought, “Whoever you are making this statement, you haven’t known what I’ve known! You haven’t experienced what I have! No imaginary friend could do what Christ has done throughout my life! It’s been incredible!”

And at some point shortly thereafter, I thought, “I could write a whole book, with a title something like, How I Know God is Not an Imaginary Friend.” In fact, I think I still might…

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(Went a little overtime here, but wanted to finish that thought.)

 

*Footnote: This happened in Colorado in late January, 2012. I guess these signs were only up for a couple months. Then was when the terribly dry weather came and the worst wildfires on record for the state followed. The ones that spread to near the billboards’ locations were caused by… lightning strikes. Articles reporting on the signs going up said they were there to spark a debate. Hm, something sparked something, seems like.

**Photos above show rugs handwoven by Tom Knisely, author and weaving instructor, taken at a presentation on rug weaving. Rugs shown may or may not be included in the book on rug weaving he published shortly thereafter.

7 thoughts on “Friends, and Friend

  1. Beautiful thoughts and images. My mind went to “What a friend we have in Jesus” too! When I see signs or comments like the imaginary friend comment, I feel a pit in my stomach. They don’t know how dangerous it is to say things like that and they don’t understand the severity. Sad. Visiting from FMF!

  2. Yes, Kathy, I know the kind of feeling you’re talking about. It may help to learn that I was once an agnostic myself. Never hostile toward belief and believers, just skeptical, a sort of unknowing “realist,” thinking it wise to believe only what was scientifically provable or visually verifiable. I got hungry for truth, though, prayed for it, and God answered. I don’t think anything that influenced me to believe came through debate or erudite apologetics, just God speaking by His Spirit through His word. But prayer was going up for me. My brother, for one–who, though very much a salesman/debater at heart, knew better than to try to “sell” me Jesus, and mostly just prayed fervently for me. So, I figure, that is the best thing I can do for the unbelieving, too. So glad you stopped here to comment and I got to meet you!

  3. What an eloquent, thought-provoking post! I share your dismay re: the billboard, and I have to wonder how many people drove by and were possibly influenced by it. 🙁 Thank you for sharing your thoughts through your words here — I appreciate your insights.

    1. Hi Patti,
      So glad to meet you. And thank you for your kind encouragement. Thinking about those billboards, for the evidently short period of time they were up: It could be that what a number of people were influenced to do was *think* more deeply about God and the possibility of Him being more, maybe even much more, than an imaginary friend. I now picture my young, agnostic self passing those signs, and I kind of think that’s what it might have done with me. I wonder if anyone got nudged to faith by one of these signs. Quite possible, methinks. (I’d love to know!)

  4. Beautiful! Friendships weaving in and out like tapestry. And as people come and go because life happens, Jesus remains because He is wherever we are. Love you post. #50 this week.

  5. Friends do come and go from school, job changes, neighborhoods, and church. My closest friends over the years have been from church, and were prayer partners. I enjoyed your story, and the sign boards upset some Christians but also God did not like the signs and he struck them down. LOL

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