I have a friend who is a pain in the rear end.
She has volunteered me for jobs I had half heartedly entertained, but didn’t really want to do. She’s bailed out on me at pivotal occasions, and insinuated herself into others where I would’ve preferred she not be and she often says hurtful or callous things, totally unaware she even insulted me. She can be jealous, nagging, and pushy.
On occasion, we would have “words”, but this usually resulted in my walking on glass for several weeks and spending more time assuring her that everything was alright than if I’d just kept my mouth shut in the first place, and let the offense pass in silence.
My friend can dish it out, but she can’t take it.
Having said this, you might wonder why I still call her my friend. Well, there’s always the thought that I’m probably not much of a picnic in the friend department myself. Am I a pain in her rear end? Being on the inside of me I have no idea, really, how I appear to others. And bad as I’ve made her sound, there is also the side of her that is funny, warm, and a true delight to be with. People are rarely only made up of one flavor.
But actually, my reticence to end this relationship really has more to do with the results of our friendship, rather than anything else. Odd as it seems, my friend is good for me. The times she has hurt me the most, are the times from which I have gained the most good.
Volunteering me for something I didn’t want to do forced me to tackle an area of my life that had been a problem for a long time. The end result ended up having little to do with what I’d been volunteered for, the main thing was that my long term problem was practically solved, or at the very least changed to a much lesser problem. It was a blessing, wrought through much pain.
In a very real way, my friend is also responsible for my creating this blog. Her sometimes acrid remarks are honest, if not pleasant. You can’t help but ponder the validity of her opinions. Some of them are pure bull, but then there are those that are very insightful. It was one of the latter than goaded me into action and developing this blog, vs. just “planning to, one of these days”.
The most important thing my friend has ever done for me though, is to bring me to God. This is a funny thing, since my friend is not a Christian, nor affiliated with any organized religion, and I sincerely doubt our deep discussions of the human psyche were ever intended to turn me toward Christianity. I’m not sure she’s even happy about it. Yet it was definitely through her words that God brought me back to him, after many years of defiantly turning away.
Which brings me to light. God is all about light. The bible abounds with references to God, not only as the creator of light, but himself having the very nature of light (1 John 1:5, “God is light”). The nature of light is to abolish the darkness and make seen what was previously unseen. In this very real spiritual sense, that is what my friend has done for me.
Or rather, what God has done for me, through my friend.
Like a blinding flashlight, shone on my face, I can hold my hands high against the glare but I cannot abolish the light. God has taken the very harshness of my friend and used it to illuminate my own weaknesses, my neediness, my fears. Nowhere does his light shine brighter than in our darkest corners. Or, so it would seem, through the people we least suspect.
So, if my friend is reading this (she knows who she is), just remember…. I may have called you a pain in the rear end (and doubtless you will obsess over it), but I thank God for the blessing of knowing you. I thank God for the Light of you. I thank God you are My Friend.