My daughter had a rough day last week. She and her three best friends decided to embark on a new journey to the top of the monkey bars. What may not seem like a big deal to you turned out to be a huge ordeal for my young lady and her loyal friends. You see, at Lily’s school the top of monkey bars is “reserved” for the cool kids. On this particular day, Lily and her friends decided to get into forbidden territory.
Now, for average people, climbing to the top of the circle monkey bars is easy. For my daughter (and her mother) this is no small feat. Unfortunately, we both lack a little in the coordination department. This lack of physical grace is not a big deal to us. We are not in denial and laugh it off on most days exchanging stories of when and where we tripped almost every day. We still are amazing prima donnas in the middle of the kitchen while making dinner, and we are sure God loves to watch us twirl and dance together.
Lily and her friends made it to the top of those monkey bars together that day. Once they made it, they were quickly informed by the monkey bars bouncers that they were in the wrong place and they needed to get down immediately. Easily intimidated by mean girls, the loyal four started down together.
If you are at all intimidated by heights the trip down monkey bars is much more taxing than the climb up, as the ground appears so far away and visions of falling become all too real in your head. I speak from experience.
As soon as the girls started back down, the crowd from the top began to hurl insults and ridicule the four trespassers. My daughter froze under the onslaught of the anxiety of the trip down and the layered stress thrown upon her by the onlookers.
That night as she told me how she made it down I was so touched. She shared that she could not have made down without her friends, and that every step she took they were there cheering her on. She said she kept breathing deep and trying to block out the verbal arrows from the mean kids and focused on the good awaiting her at the bottom: her three friends. She made it. That night she was so thankful to have friends who stood by her even when the popular crowd was above mocking and taunting. Those are exactly the kind of friends I want my daughter to have, and that night we thanked God together for those special girls.
In my own life I see the rich blessings that come from friendship and how completely necessary it is to have loyal friends. When things are rough the last thing you need is a fair-weather friend! I am abundantly blessed with amazing friends who don’t just tickle my ears, but who love me enough to pray for and with me, to tell me when I am absolutely in the wrong, and to walk with me through the horrors of life holding my hand and cheering me onward.
I believe that the necessity of relationship for healthy living is one of the best arguments for being a committed part of a congregation of believers. In a culture that is quickly becoming more individualistic and isolated in our means of communication, in acceptance of pluralism, and in a disregard for living a moral life, a community of believers encourages us to press on ignoring the insults that may come. A community of believers reminds us we are not alone. Churches must be a soft place for believers to come for love, discipleship, and friendship. We must lean on each other and trust in each other.
Today I am thankful for my dear friends! May I always strive to be a better friend to them every day.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!