I have a new friend. We have spent a LOT of time together recently. Probably a disproportionate amount of time. His name is Shov El.
We don’t normally hang out much but this week has been an exception. Shov, as he prefers to be called, was with me through some of the most physically demanding moments of my week. He made it possible to take Sharon to work and to get groceries. He also reintroduced me to several neighbours who I hadn’t seen since the pandemic lockdown happened.
Shov is a good friend, but somewhat demanding. After a few hours together I KNOW we've been together. I feel it for a day or two afterward.
Usually he just hangs out quietly in the garage. You don’t even notice him. But when you need him, he is there. I do appreciate his friendship and I’m glad he gets to make his acquaintance with me from time to time. And lately it has been quite an intense relationship.
Don’t tell him this, but I hope things get back to our more normal routine. Sadly, as long as he is hanging out with me it is unlikely my other friend, Motor Cycle, will do so. The two of them don’t get along. It’s either one or the other (although I do prefer Motor over Shov).
Words Matter: Friends.
As friends, Shov El and Motor Cycle have limited engagements in my life. Motor Cycle doesn’t like to go out in the rain. Shove El only appears in the winter. But the do illustrate the necessity of friends. We need friends who are always there, trustworthy, willing to sacrifice, and perhaps most important of all, willing to risk speaking the truth in love when we need to hear it the most. The kind of friend not afraid to tell you when you have a piece of broccoli stuck in your teeth.
Friends of this caliber last a lifetime even if separated by distance (unlike Shov who is prone to fail at the most opportune moment). Solomon gives us great advice about friends:
And a brother is born for adversity. (Prov. 17:17 NASB)
Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. (Prov. 27:6 NASB)
Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
So a man's counsel is sweet to his friend. (Prov. 27:9 NASB)
Building trusting relationships takes a lifetime. It also takes humility and vulnerability. And it takes time. Few of us have escaped the pain of betrayal; that heart-piercing act where the trust is broken. A friend is lost. It makes us skittish to pursue future friendships.
Yet, we must. God created us social creatures. Some of us thrive with a dynamic of several friends, all busy and engaging together all the time. Others of us find satisfaction in just a few. We all need at least one.
Even if we have been burnt before, it is worth the risk to try again. And if we are long-established with our friends, it is worth opening the circle. We need each other.
I’m pleased to have Shov El as my friend but I prefer Motor Cycle. Even more so, I value my friends with whom I live, worship, curl, and work. Thanks for being my friend. Let’s continue to befriend those who are still looking for a trusting relationship.
We do need one another!