By Mary Zatkalik
We invited a couple over to the house recently and while chatting over dinner, we mentioned the frustration we were having with our internet speed. I joked, “Yeah, it’s slower than filling a barrel with an eye dropper!” The technically savvy husband laughed and asked to look at it and then he confirmed the same. We told him we had contacted our internet server provider but all the company agreed to do was sell us a higher speed at a greater cost. The savvy husband educated us and gave us some tips and when we called the provider again, this time with confidence and authority, the company came out and fixed the problem at no cost. We couldn’t wait to call this couple and tell them the good news expressing how grateful we were for their help. My feelings went much deeper though. I’m thankful for their friendship. We’re meant to live in community. It says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 that “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” (NLT)
We need each other! Friendships are tricky though and not the easiest thing to cultivate or maintain. Otherwise, why are there so many books and articles out there offering help on the subject? How do we stack up when it comes to the commitment required for being a good friend? Are we willing to take risks? And then there’s the biggy: forgiveness. We’re people after all, and we make mistakes. We all do. We need grace and we need to give grace.
I took home some great advice from a women’s retreat several years ago that I still use. The speaker asked these questions: “What are my friends pouring into the friendship?” and “What am I pouring in?” It’s not fair to expect a human being(s) to meet all my needs. Her expert advice was to think of your friends and place them into three categories: “Takers”, “Givers” and “Just for fun.” It works for me because some of my friends are needy and not able to give back much at this time; I don’t expect anything. Also, I enjoy the just-for-fun friends and like to go shopping or to the movies with them, but no way will I share my prayer needs or my deepest secrets. And then there are the givers such as our computer fixing friends!
I know I’ve been made for community. When it comes to friendship, I admit my weaknesses and want to do so much better. I think it’s important. In Proverbs 1:7, it says: “Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” My goal is to become more wise and less foolish and thus, a better friend! How about you?
Mary Zatkalik. A wife, a mom of two daughters, a grandmother of two girls, retired and enjoys country living. My family and friends are important to me, but Jesus is my lifeline. You can find Mary at her blog: Piles of Smiles or on Twitter.