The best friends I’ve ever had are the ones who are selfless enough to celebrate with me when I am rejoicing and who are compassionate enough to mourn with me when I am mourning. There’s scripture that tells us to be this way, and I can appreciate so well the inclination of the hearts of these precious friends, to wherever my heart is.
Because isn’t that what it is to be a friend? To incline the heart toward another?
Even in their worst funks, my best friends would sincerely scream “YAY” with me and jump up and down. They found sincere joy in my victories. We share life like that. I win, they win, even when they’ve been personally feeling that deserty, rough patch. They’d reply back with 15 exclamation points, and several smiley faces, and I could feel the genuine happiness for me. FOR ME. For the thing I’ve been waiting for, or waiting on, or breaking through, or learning. My baby steps are just as exciting. They’re in for the journey, celebrating my mile markers.
On the other hand, from the heights of their mountaintop experiences, they have come bounding down to my valleys, to comfort me in my heartaches. They’d set aside their time and listen to me. They’d hold me. They’d cancel plans. They’d make me food, and watch movies, and tell me the best jokes they had. It’s the most loving thing I’ve ever experienced, truly, when one steps away from their non-crisis life and steps into someone else’s pit to sit with them. Like Job’s friends sat with him, no words are needed. I have friends like this.
They’ve taught me to mourn with them, to lay aside my free time and get my butt to a funeral, and to experience the intimacy of a mourning family. I’ve had the honor of being brought into such a precious fold of trust. I’ve cried for people I hadn’t met, but I met them through my friends’ tears, words, and stories. They were my people too.
They’ve taught me to celebrate them, to lay aside the female tendency to compare and despair. I’ve stood by them as they became wives and mothers, heard those phone calls of “he’s the one!” and those calls of “we’re having a baby!” and my singlehood was so outweighed by sincere joy that I couldn’t help myself but feel HAPPY! Truly truly happy, because I was gaining with them. Their additions were my people too.
I haven’t had to censor myself or make my friends censor themselves out of joys and sorrows, because of fear of the reaction. I didn’t have to hold back good news or bad news, because we have this compassionate flexibility of sensitivity. It’s unspoken. It’s a ‘come as you are’ and a ‘what’s really going on’ relationship.
ON THE FLIPSIDE… I’ve lost friends who couldn’t do this thing, this compassion thing. When I’d come by saying “HEY GUESS WHAT!!!” they were Eeyores, ya know? The grumpy donkey from Winnie the Pooh? They just couldn’t muster up a smile. They would “hmm” and I could tell they didn’t care or believe my excitement was valid. Party poopers, man.
Big rain clouds on a parade are the people who compare themselves instantly and cannot stir up joy within themselves to rejoice with those who are rejoicing. They miss out on a TON of joy, a ton of laughter, a ton of smiles, and a ton of parties. They don’t get invited, and a lot of people stop “wasting their time” trying to have a two-way-street friendship with these people. Then, they feel rejected, even though they reject others CONSTANTLY by refusing to have empathy. It’s a sad thing. Eeyores gonna Eeyore, I guess. I wish they wouldn’t.
Comparison is a nasty thing. It’s a nasty lie. It says that because someone has a blue kite, you’ll never have a blue kite. THERE IS MORE THAN ONE BLUE KITE, PEOPLE. It says that because one friend found her love, that you won’t? What? That makes no sense at all. These are the people who are like the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son, the ones who sit outside a party, sulking, because they just don’t understand who they are and what their rights are as children of a GOOD Father. THE GOODNESS OF GOD DOES NOT RUN OUT. He pours and pours and pours it down. Then, He keeps pouring, because there’s still more. If you believe this, it will show. If you don’t believe this, it will show. Our faith can only go as far as our awareness of God’s goodness (Bill Johnson).
You can rejoice for other people, I promise. You can stir up that trust inside you, and when your time comes, which you must believe it will, people will rejoice with you as well. You won’t be the lonely, sad, rusty, old one to the side, not unless you choose to act that way by pushing away anybody who is happy, and make ‘choosing out of joy’ a lifestyle. How would you feel if people treated you the way you treat them? If you had the good news instead? It’s okay to celebrate. It’s okay to trust God’s timing. It’s okay to be happy when it isn’t for you or about you. It’s okay to incline your heart, it’s made to do that.
It’s okay to have compassion, even when your cup is running low. The overflow of another might just spill into yours.