A friend loves at all times. – Proverbs 17:17
During her visit, a couple of months ago, my friend Kathy painted my front porch. It’s not typical houseguest behavior. But Kathy’s no houseguest.
Her gift of a freshly painted porch was an extension of God’s grace. She loves to paint and it perked up our house’s elevation.
It needed it. We replaced some spindles a while back but they remained unpainted. And a year ago, a woodpecker took a liking to the post boasting our address.
But I saw more than absent paint and an annoying hole.
The unfinished wood reminded me of my attempt to fix situations. It seems something is always left undone. If that was my only reflection, I would have looked at the porch with half a smile.
But the woodpecker’s work around my address took the other half of that smile away. It reminded me of nagging issues aiming to puncture my existence. I wondered if Kathy saw that too.
You see, the brushstrokes of our friendship began many years ago.
At 12, Kathy’s adolescent heart met mine. We sat on my parent’s porch swapping secrets and our wildest dreams.
In fact, God used her in an amazing way to make one of my dreams come true. Kathy rode the same school bus with the cutest boy I’d ever seen (which was mega important by the time we were 15).
His name was Brady and he asked Kathy for my phone number. Like any friend worthy of the title, she gave it to him. Now he’s my husband.
That friendship thing really works.
But since those days of sharing teenage thoughts, Kathy and I support one another through many adult adventures – four decades later. Through losing a parent to fighting the feeling we were losing our dreams; our heart-to-heart talks are fondly referred to as “porch time.”
However, Brady’s and my frequent relocations put lots of miles between my childhood friend and me. Yet, our friendship has only deepened. It’s eight cities later and Kathy has visited us in each one.
Now as we chat by phone or in person, the scene is much different. The content of our talks has matured. The giggles sound the same.
But if I were to paint a picture of our friendship, a porch would appear on the canvas. I know all friendship portraits aren’t this pretty. Some bring more distress than delight.
Some friendships are marred by betrayal.
Others are faded by the passage of time.
A few have fractured frames awaiting restoration.
If you were to paint a picture of a friendship, what would you put on the canvas?
Here are some examples I see in the “friendship gallery” of Scripture:
Ruth and Naomi’s picture includes a journey to Judah. I see DESTINY. (See Ruth 1-4)
David and Jonathan’s picture shows three arrows in flight. I see LOYALTY. (See 1 Samuel 19-20)
Job and his friends’ picture features an intense debate. I see RESTORATION. (See Job 2-42)
Jesus and His followers’ picture points to Calvary’s cross. I see LOVE and SACRIFICE. (See John 15:9-15)
Friendships are filled with many aspects of God’s purpose in our lives. But sometimes we miss His purposes and our imperfections appear. Even then friends can experience His love, as hurt and disappointment are covered by the beautiful hue of forgiveness.
Because when a friendship paints a picture the purpose of the friendship is seen.
The picture of Kathy painting my porch is one I deeply treasure. It serves as a reminder: The gift of friendship comes to make our lives better and it brings enjoyment along the way.
I pray your friendships create those kinds of memories — until you have a gallery of reasons for hope for the heart and joy to the soul.