If we are being honest, sometimes this happens, doesn’t it? We are walking along with a friend just fine and then, BAM! the envy monster jumps out from behind a tree, rearing its ugly head and we are left with thoughts that need filtering and an attitude that needs adjusting…and a heart that is hurting.
I only met her four months ago but sometimes you “just know” when you are going to be good friends with someone. We are journeying together down this writing road. We cheer each other on and often share tips of the trade, right along with our fears and insecurities. However, sometimes we get jealous. We have a similar dream and there are times when one of us has more success than the other. If we are not careful our feelings of envy can overshadow our genuine care and commitment to our friendship. Just today we had an opportunity to practice this as her article submission was accepted and mine was not. I did an enthusiastic happy dance about her wonderful news, rejoicing in this exciting endeavor and she graciously allowed me to process my hurt, offering sympathy and affirmation.
One summer day at lunch, I was told that some good friends had been chosen by a birthmom and already had their new daughter at home. “Isn’t that great news?!” one of our friends asked. I nodded with as much enthusiasm as I could muster, trying to convince her that I was happy for them. And I was, but my heart was hurting, raw, beneath the surface. You see, we were waiting and waiting to be chosen by a birthmom ourselves and her news, while exciting, was like salt in a fresh wound…reminding us of what we did not have. Did God like them better? Why hadn’t we been chosen yet? We felt forgotten and overlooked.
When a close friend of mine heard about this same news, she asked how I was doing. I was touched by her discernment. She knew, that with the announcement of this couple receiving a baby, I would be struggling. That’s a true friend. One who perceives and anticipates our hurts without us having to verbalize them. They know us that well and know the things that we struggle with. They bring grace to the table and cover our hurts and hangups with empathy.
At an end-of-the-school year picnic, one of my friends exuberantly testified how God had done a miracle, sparing the life of a young lady who had been in a car accident early that day. It was cause for celebration. But all I could think about was another friend, there listening, whose son was killed by a car at the beginning of the school year. How was this news making her feel?
Soon after the announcement, I found her and we hugged long. “Great news but hard news, huh?” I asked. She responded with sobs from deep within. “Sometimes it feels like God likes other people better. Why didn’t He let our son live?” she questioned.
She knew, I knew, and I hope you do too, that God does not like people better than others. But it can feel that way sometimes. True friends usually know when the news they are announcing might send the other into a tale spin. This does not mean we should not share our success and dreams come true, we should, but, sometimes big bear hugs of understanding are needed right along with those announcements.
Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
Take a moment and share love with a friend who has been there for you. Encourage one of your friends who may already be experiencing the dream that you are hoping for. When your time comes, you will want her there, cheering you on like crazy!