Loving Your Friends

I have a friend … a wonderful, beautiful, kind, thoughtful friend. She is struggling. She’s lost and doesn’t really know her way … and I’ve been trying to support her and help her through these dark days. I can identify with many of her thoughts and feelings .. so I thought “Of course, I am the most equipped person to help her through this.” I’m finding out that it might not be the case. I love … a lot .. and sometimes I love too hard, sometimes I smother people and don’t give them space and sometimes I think I’m loving someone, when really I’m loving someone according to my own needs.

Listening to her talk helped me see how far I’d come. I remember being in her place like it was yesterday … but that’s just the thing. It IS yesterday for me … it’s her today. We are the same, but so different.

I’ve found myself worried about her – fussing over her – making her burden my burden. I struggle with these boundaries – when do you love someone and when do you make their issues your issues? She doesn’t need me worrying about her – she’s got a mom, dad and family to worry about her. She needs someone on the outside to cheer her on, to listen to her, and pray for her.

There is no doubt in my mind that she will come through this even more beautiful than she already is. Who am I to take away part of her journey? To steal part of her walk to healing. Walking with God, allowing Him to reveal himself to you, is the most beautiful part of healing. You have to go into the lion’s den and wrestle with life. You need to come out banged up and bruised. It’s then, that the healing starts. I can’t go into her battles with her – I can’t fight them for her .. I mean I totally would, but what good would that do? It would rob her of her own victory. It would steal the pride and sense of strength in saying she did it! She fought the good fight and she won!

A song has been haunting me … I mean it’s on the radio every time I turn it on, it plays on Pandora and it’s always playing on my iTunes radio. I’ve heard it just about once a day for the past two weeks. Then, I’m sitting in church and it was sung during communion. “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flats. Alright God, you’ve got my attention … what are you trying to tell me?

There is beauty in struggle. God has even blessed the hurtful parts of life. My friend deserves her own broken road to her own happiness. I can’t fix it for her and I shouldn’t try. She’s been telling me what she’s needed all along – she needs someone on the outside of her struggles to listen to her, to support her and to love her. Someone to not get involved and just be there. Simple.

I’m learning what it means to healthily love others. I’m learning what it means to have my own boundaries – how to love without hurting myself. With God’s help, I’ll continue to learn what it means to love others and myself at the same time.

Love, Mel

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