All it took was one text message.
Hey, she said. That thing you said on Monday…
I look up from my phone. My mind jumps back. What did I say on Monday?
Ah yes. I remember.
I mentioned how 2018 was not my favorite year. (Why? Grab a coffee with me and I will probably not tell you.)
I continue reading her text:
Just wanted to say, she said, when you said that 2018 wasn’t the best year for you, you didn’t say that into a void. I heard you. And whatever chance I have to make 2019 a better one for you, I plan to take advantage of it.
I stare at her message. WHOA.
She said I heard you. I was heard. My words were heard. I was hearkened to.
I know how I could take this. I could respond by thinking that, yeah, this is great, but really you shouldn’t rely on people to make you happy because they will, at times, bring you down and true happiness comes from within, or God, or whatever, so I’ll keep this at arm’s length thankyouverymuch and, no, it’s not because I’m antisocial. I’m just being realistic.
Or, I could do what I usually do: make this person MY PERSON. The one who fills the emotional void in my heart.
Don’t get me wrong. I do believe God designed us to be relational beings. When God saw Adam alone in the garden, He said:
“It is not good for man to be alone.”*
So He created Eve. But then, our first parents sinned.
And in the words of Pastor John Mark Comer, “ever since we’ve been picking up the pieces.
Love and hate.
Marriage and divorce.
Sexuality and adultery.
Romance and heartache.”**
Might I add:
Friendship and isolation.
Attachment and loneliness.
God gives us a good thing—like friendship, loyalty, a connection—and we pervert it. Like the faulty humans that we are.
For me, my habit has been to exalt the gift over the Gift-Giver. Whether it’s a possession or a person.
My friend’s text message is such a balm to my tender, snowflake heart that I see myself veering off into this absolute love for her. I’ve done this before. I forget to remind myself of the God who brought this gift into my life in the first place.
The Apostle Paul wrote about people who did this:
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator. Rom. 1:25.
Before loving the creature, I want to remember the Creator.
So whenever I read my friend’s text message—and I read it often—I whisper a little prayer:
God, thank you for bringing this person into my life. Thank you that they’re so loving and so caring.
Friendship is a good gift. But it’s one to be thankful to God for. Because every good and every perfect gift is from above (Jm. 1:17).
**John Mark Comer. Loveology: God. Love. Marriage. Sex. And the Never-Ending Story of Male and Female. Zondervan, 2014.