Today’s blog is written by a best friend of mine, Charissa Birnbaum. She’s high energy and a true friend to all.
I traveled away from home for about three weeks recently and, for the first time in my life, I was sad to leave because I was actually going miss my friends. I’ve never had relationships like this in my entire life, which screams volumes to me about the weight of impact one person can have on another. As I personally felt that weight while I was abroad, I had to take a step back and think about the kind of friend I was to my friends. If people can leave such an impact, what was mine going to be in the lives of my friends?
While oversees, I met a man who shared the most brilliant analogy about friendship I had ever heard. “Friends are like fruit,” he said, “Some are soft like a peach: easy to know and easy to befriend. Some are like oranges with layers that require you to pull back slowly and carefully. Others are like coconuts, and it’s going to take a lot of effort to crack them open.” With most people, I think I’m like a banana. There’s a little bit to peel back, but it’s pretty easy to do and doesn’t take a *bunch* of time (See what I did there? Banana jokes…I’m full of ‘em!) I respond best to people who put a little effort into peeling me back, but I’m willing to offer up whatever personal information you want whenever you’re ready to ask for it.
If I’m a banana, it can be natural for me to hang out with other bananas. But soon enough I’m going to look around and have a *bunch* of friends that look just like me, talk just like me, and empower me to stay exactly how I am. And that’s no fun. Can you imagine the perspective I’d gain if I took the time to crack open a Jackfruit?! From the surface, bananas and jackfruits have nothing in common. But did you know that when a jackfruit is ripe, it smells like bananas and pineapples? And did you know that both fruits actually originated from the same region? I’d never know how much we had in common if I never put in the effort to crack Jack.
What I’m trying to say is that the best friendships might be hidden under an exterior requires effort to get past. The most life-giving relationships are often formed with people who look, think and act differently than us because they cause our perspective to widen and our view of the world around us to come into clearer focus. Love isn’t one-size-fits-all, even in friendships.
It’s natural to approach others as if they receive love and view the world the same way as ourselves. But what if we became learners of each other? What if we sought the opportunity to love old and new friends based on their unique design and made it our mission to know them for who they are instead of taking the easy route past them because they aren’t like us? I want to be sensitive to my sensitive friends and bold to my bold friends. I want love to have its way over my preferences so that I can appreciate and celebrate God’s image-bearers with enthusiasm!