Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Faithful Friends

Saturday night, I had dinner with friends. We celebrated the birthday of one friend by going to out to eat. We went to a place called Maggiano's. While the food was excellent, it was the company that made the evening. You just can't beat good friends!
A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth. A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy, such as he who fears God finds; For he who fears God behaves accordingly, and his friend will be like himself. ~ Sirach 6: 14-17 (NAB)

I have never had such good friends as I have today. And never have I needed such good friends as I have today. They are there when I need them and they are there to tell me when I am trying to do things I am incapable of. Tonight, I was a little stiff when I got up from the dinner table and that stiffness always makes it harder to do things. As we were leaving the restaurant, I tried to get into the seat furthest back in the car so someone else could have the middle seat. I couldn't make it up the first time and reached for my husband's hand for help. My friends immediately came to my aid and said that I should sit in the middle seat since my body couldn't make it up. I have RA and the climb into that back seat was just too much for me to handle. As I backed away from the car, I could feel my left shoulder begin to throb from that first effort. By then, I was happy to let my friends take their seat behind me in the car, though I must admit that I was a little humbled that I couldn't do what seemed so simple.

But this isn't about me. It is about all of our need for faithful friends. We so often like to be independent and leaning on others doesn't come naturally in our culture. I will have to learn to be more dependent on others as time passes, so I took this as a lesson in humility. I have to admit that it was difficult, but I am also happy that I have friends who care enough about me to take good care of me when I struggle with my RA.

Did I learn my lesson? On Sunday, I picked up something heavy even as a friend offered to help me. I again felt the results in my shoulder. Why is learning humility so hard? Is it a matter of pride? Perhaps we see "humiliation" as a negative thing instead of something that builds up our worth. It wounds our selfish pride. Scripture says,
...glorify yourself with humility, and ascribe to yourself honor according to your worth. ~ Sirach 10:28
The purpose of humility is ultimately to bring us a sense of self-worth, not shame. It glorifies us by making us more like Jesus Who allowed Himself to be humiliated to the point of death on a cross.
Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2: 3-11

Only through His humiliation could He experience His glorification through the Resurrection. So, we should feel honored that we can suffer humiliation for Christ. We are made into His image through our suffering. So, I choose today to have an attitude of gratitude - both for my little lessons in humility and for my friends who support me.

Father, thank you for my friends and teach me humility so that I may be more like you. Amen!

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