Sunday, April 6, 2008

Friends, Like Shoes Can Wear Out or Walk On

Women have an affinity for shoes more than men do most of the time. As I’ve gotten older I find that I’m one of those women who pays attention to what my feet wear when I leave the house. When I was in my twenties, shoes were just the last thing I threw on and mattered little.

I believe that shoes are quite similar to friendships. I just spent some time with an old friend last week. She knew me when I had my original last name and had to ask my mom for a ride to her house. We’ve walked through marriages, child birth, parenting challenges and spiritual revelations together. She doesn’t live in my town and months often pass between correspondences, but our friendship is such a familiar and comfortable fit, I can just pick it up and know instantly how it will feel. It is effortless and safe, like stepping slowly into a warm bath.

Later in the week I spent quite a bit of time with a new friend. She is much younger but wants to learn about me. She is radiant, enthusiastic and makes me feel both wise and youthful. I am still trying this friendship on for size but I’ve worn it enough to commit to keeping it. It is still a little stiff and might pinch if I wear it too much all at once, but if I take the time to break it in over time, it has the potential to become a lasting favorite.

I’ve also had friendships that lasted only a season. They looked great and felt good at the time, but after a while they wore out, started to rub the wrong way, got lost or just felt less comfy. It can be hard to know when the time has come to let someone else move into the space this friendship has filled, and I have certainly held on to friends and shoes way past their intended season, occasionally inflicting unnecessary pain on myself or someone else.

And we can’t forget the well-worn flip flops we throw on to get the mail or run up to the post office. Those friends who are a part of our daily life; the ones we speak to nearly every day, sharing the trials and triumphs-big and small. It is easy to take them for granted even though they usually offer the most reliability and the biggest kick!

I’m so blessed that the closet of my life is filled with friends that bring color, style and comfort to me every day. How about you—what kind of friend are you? Are there “shoes” you need to donate to someone else, some that need a little extra attention (maybe a good shine), or are you attracted to a new pair but haven’t really tried them on yet? Don’t get cold feet; there is a world full of fabulous shoes just waiting for you.

Diane Markins


Joni Corby said...

I love the shoe analogy! I have tried on a lot of "new shoes" lately and am blessed by them. Some slip on so quickly and easily you feel like you've had em for years.Seems like I was wearing the same ole shoes outta my same ole closet for a looooong time. The Lord has really blessed me lately with quite a few new pairs! Of friends and shoes!

Anonymous said...

I love the shoe analogy as well!! My husband and I are finally at a point in our marriage where we have several friends that are both mine and his. Woohoo! That has been great! When we were first married he felt like he had lost a lot of friendships and was in dire need of male companionship. Now I think I'm the one feeling like that. I'm trying to figure out how to balance my relationships with my single friends who are at very different points in life than I, while trying to make new friendships with women who can relate to me. Maybe what I should really be focusing on is how I can be a better friend to ones that I already have?

HisGirl said...

Sounds like a great plan, but be open to new friendships from expected places: older, younger, richer, wiser, more or less Godly. You just never know who the Lord will put in your life and for what purpose if you are looking for it.