Aching for Friends

I call it the holy ache: what I felt when I walked one Sunday afternoon around the block, this desperation to be seen, known, and appreciated pounding in my chest.

Should I reach in my back pocket and relisten to the message from E.? She always makes me feel better. 

But I know the ache will return after an hour and my heart will nearly thump it’s way out of my chest. This ache often twinges like anxiety, but it’s not. It’s my ongoing need for companionship.

We all have this need: friends. It’s like going in for heart surgery, finding them, making them, and keeping them. But especially, to release them.

Let me explain

I’ve won friends over years, neglected more (and lost a few), stalked them, been rejected by them, judged them, and forgiven them. Most I keep in my back pocket there on my phone.

There are local friends: down the street kind of friends. We take walks together and talk real life.

There are meet at Starbucks and sip sugary mochas together: therapy kind of friends.

Then there my friends who live in the town I once called home, Liberty. These are the surrogate family friends, occasional spiritual guide friends who go beyond meeting half-way to pick up my kids and still invite them over for sleepovers because we’re-all-cousins-kind-of-friends.

Also, and definitely not least, are the unexpected friends from all over: South Africa, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Michigan, Australia, and so many places in between. Some of these I’ve never met face to face but we are as close as sisters can be. We are just a button away. Friends to text a note of desperation or victory: “Pray,” or, “It’s benign.” So we celebrate with heart emojis!

These friends I keep in my back pocket. I set the phone on the counter. Blooms spill out of my pocket with their love.

Friends never fill the holy ache completely. I’m coming to learn, they never will. None of us are supposed to.

Five Minute Friday Retreat

This week is spring break (aka home with interrupting kids), so I did not write this in five minutes flat. That’s O.K. The Five Minute Friday crew is forgiving and cool like that.

P.S. There’s still room at our summer retreat in Kansas City

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March 17, 2017
  • Carolina

    I have a hard time not filling in the gaps with friends instead of with Jesus. I loved today’s post. #FMF

  • Sarah Geringer

    Friendships come in many different shapes, sizes, and lengths. I am blessed to have many deep, long-lasting friendships, but I’m enjoying the down-the-street and unexpected ones too. Your neighbor at #fmf.

  • I’ve been reading Lisa-Jo Baker’s Unfriended as part of her launch team, and she says a lot about this very point you’ve made, that friends are not actually *supposed* to completely fill that void within us. All kinds of friends have a place (and you’ve given some great examples of different types of friends) but none of them can be all in all to us. I really love what you’ve written here and am glad to have connected with you via #FMF. We all need community!

  • Stephanie Thompson

    Christina, your post captures my friendships (and I think those of many women) beautifully. So often, a perception exists that one must have a best friend. The pursuit begins and the disappointment lingers when that reality fails to come to fruition. I am shaped by many women; including my newest ones at FMF 🙂

  • This is great- we all need these different types of friends and it’s amazing how we can have friendships even with people we’ve never met. It is important to remember, as you say, that no human friendship will completely fill and satisfy us but we need to know God as a friend too.

    • It’s tempting to look to others to fill the void. I love how you said we need to invite God to dwell in this space with us. My thoughts exactly!

  • Bethany Vitaro

    I love this so much! Friendship looks so different depending on the people and the season of life. I’m having to learn this. Just because we don’t see each other as often as we like, doesn’t mean friendships aren’t worth maintaining. Every friend I have doesn’t have to be at the same level either, as long as I’m able to be my true self with her.

    • I’m learning that too, Bethany. They take work, no matter the distance.

  • Tara Ulrich

    Oh love this: “These friends I keep in my back pocket. I set the phone on the counter. Blooms spill out of my pocket with their love.” So much holy truth to this statement. I’m in the 35 spot this week.