Eighth-Day grace


Today, I’m flying to Burbank to help my friend Tim’s son, Joe, move up to Washington. I’m in Sea-Tac airport right now.

This past week, we had two separate house guests, Adrien and Ari, each of whom gave us what many would consider minimal (or even insufficient) notice that they were coming. I say “notice” rather than “request” because I would welcome each if them if they gave me ten minutes’ notice and our house were on fire. To be clear, I had given previous–and evidently successful–open door policy to both. Ari dropped me at the airport this morning as she continued on with her travels. I know some people have busier and less flexible lives than we do. But after seven years living in a place where we could rarely see some of the people we dearly love, I consider it a privilege to hear “Hey, I might be at your house in eight hours to stay for a few days. That okay?” It’s more than okay.

Friends are grace.

I don’t deserve my friends. In more cases than I care to describe, I have given my friends reason to give up on me. They haven’t.

Today, I get to help Tim, who has been faithful and supportive when others have been blasé, indifferent, or plain rejected me and us. This isn’t “payback.” This is getting to love a friend who has loved me when I needed it most.

True friends are grace.

I love having friends who live very different lives than I do. I love being part of their lives, even when I can’t always understand their lives. I love getting to live vicariously through their adventures. My friends make my life bigger and more real. My friends help me see the world I’m living in. Of our two friends who just stayed with us, Adrien is an artist and Ari is…an artist, in a very different way. All my friends are artists take it slow.

When I recently posted a humorous comment that I am not an adult, another of my friends, Jake, jumped in and debated, as he tends to, arguing that I am one of the most adult people he knows–as no one has ever argued before. Now the arguments that I’m not-so-very adult are easy to make and involve things like organization and punctuality and willingness to answer the telephone…or own a telephone. When I pick on myself this way, I’m being self-deprecating and taking easy shots at myself. I’m also talking about things I dislike about myself which, were I doing that to someone else, you would call “cruel.”

But, you know, self-cruelty is funny. Right?

This friend argued that “adult” is more about character.

I’m not going to wade further into whether I’m an adult or not. My friend swept aside my self-mocking to call attention to positive and empowering characteristics he recognizes that I offer the world.

Friends. Are. Grace.

I’m not trying to teach you any new insights about friends or friendship with this post. Maybe that will be another series. I’m about to board the plane. Today, I’m reminding you of this simple truth that we “know” but take for granted most days. I’m not taking it for granted today.

Most of what I’ve experienced of God’s love, I’ve experienced through other people.*

Friends are grace.

*I always thought Anne Lamott said that, but I’ve never been able to find the quote…so maybe I said that. If you know the original source, let me know.

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