Perfectly Practical #85 - Give to Your Friends
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. - John 13:15
Nobody said being a giver would be comfortable; there is beauty in sacrifice.
It is all too easy for all of us to give to a faceless, although worthy, cause. They are a deservedly squeaky wheel and as such, they "get the oil" for their charity. You can give to that society or club where you are not confronted with a particular need or affliction directly, and feel good about giving - and that's okay. But...
There are many needs that go unnoticed in front of you, in your sphere of friends. Often these needs get swept under the carpet because they(we) don't want their(our) friends to see that they(we) need help.
The concept of giving to our friends can be awkward. It makes us uncomfortable to look into the eyes of our friends and ask what we can do for them. Sometimes out of selfishness, because we may not want to fill their need (as in helping to clean up after a party, etc.) and sometimes because we don't want to know that our friend is hurting. We prefer to live in a happy autonomous bubble where we mind our own business.
In my life, I am so blessed to be surrounded by truly amazing women. They are teachers and professionals and housewives and doctors and socialites and activists and artists and mothers and doers and Christians and foodies and microwave mavens and musicians and vegetarians and the list could go on forever. They have wildly varying perspectives on everything from politics to raw milk consumption to Adele, wait, no, I think we all agree on Adele. These ladies sacrifice themselves for the good of their family and community every day. Every day.
Now, think about your friends and what they do each day. Do you see how they may need a little support from time to time? It could be as simple as texting them or better yet, write them a letter of encouragement. (I have a friend who sends out random texts like "Your hair looks fabulous today!" even though she hasn't seen the person.) Could you show up with a home cooked meal one night to give her a night off? Offer to babysit so that she and her hubby can go out on a date? Host a regular brunch to get all of your friends together? Pick up her kids after school?
When I started hosting brunches years and years ago, I wanted it to be a safe venue for friends to talk in a non-threatening casual environment. Whatever happens at brunch stays at brunch. It's basically like "Fight Club" just with cheesecake and no bloodshed. Okay, so not really like Fight Club at all.
And even though we mostly sit around and eat lots and drink far too much coffee, there have been tears - those brunches are hard for me. I don't want my friends to hurt. I don't want them to cry. I just want to fix my little cheesecake and go on with life. That way I can have the same feeling I have when I give to a big charity: I can give and walk away knowing that I did something good. But maybe good isn't good enough. Maybe I need to do something better. Maybe I need to lay down my life.
Maybe I need to be that shoulder that gets cried upon. Y'all that makes me uncomfortable. I don't like to cry around people and don't like it when people cry around me (mainly because that makes me turn around and cry in front of people; it's a vicious cycle.)
Maybe I need to be the one who looks into the bloodshot eyes of a friend who is a new mother and ask her if I can look after her baby so that she can take a nap. Again, uncomfortable for me, the most un-maternal mom ever. I don't do babies. (I thank God every day that Diva is alive and well in spite of having me as her mother.)
We are social animals and as such we need each other in the good times and the not-so-good times. I heard a speech recently where the speaker said, "Our lives are filled with Whos and Whats; the Whos are more important than the Whats." Our relationships enrich our lives and provide another outlet for giving.
When one helps another, both are strong. - German Proverb
This is the third in the series of 30 Day Giving Challenges. You can read the first part on giving to your church here or the second post on giving to your family here.
This is part of We Are That Family's Works for Me Wednesday and the 30 Day Giving Challenge.