So, I learned something new today. Actually it was yesterday but it has really stuck with me. It was a new saying, or really a very old saying that was brand new to me. It is from the book of proverbs chapter 27 and it goes like this:
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
You may have heard it before, but I had not. It struck me deeply even as the words were being heard, but its meaning was a puzzle to me. I could feel my heart trying to wrap itself around the words, like it has seized upon something valuable and wanted to taste its flavor for the first time. It sounded impossible to me at first, faithful are the wounds of a friend? How could that be? Faithful wounds? And then the meaning came,slowly and steadily, the truth of its meaning, it came.
Sometimes in this life we must tell our friends a truth they might not want to hear because they are about to hurt themselves or others. And in speaking the truth out loud , we wound them. But it is our love and fidelity that causes the wound in order to keep them from a far greater calamity, and so the wound is necessary and is actually a sign of our friendship. Faithful are the wounds of a friend.
I have been thinking on this since I heard it last night, and on and off all day today. These are good words. They are true. For 99% of most of our friendships we can hopefully, build one another up and enjoy the gifts we see in one another that strikes a common chord. Friendship is really a beautiful pleasure of life. But, sometimes it is necessary to say what we ought because we see a more tragic outcome if we fail to speak. Boy are those words hard to spit out! I have had to do so on occasion and the only solace I have had at those times is the hope that one day long into the future the honesty will be appreciated. It is a very small consolation. The cost of honesty is quite high. Most people simply shoot the messenger and never look back.Even if they do eventually realize their error, they don't generally 'appreciate' the person who pointed it out to them. If they lack humility they might respond like a pit viper and strike at you mercilessly. Others tend to carry around a bitterness as if the person who spoke is really the one guilty for exposing their fault and shame. I am not sure why it works this way, but I know it does.
I have also been on the receiving end of a few choice words over the years. Lets face it,with my personality, when I get myself into a pickle, boy is it ever a pickle! It is those times I really NEED to hear the words of truth that will redirect my footsteps after stumbling. Those words of truth saved me from the very edge of the precipice. Of course looking back it is true that my real friends were brutally honest with me. And while it was very painful, I needed to hear the truth and am incredibly grateful they were willing to risk our friendship in order to save it. Truly their actions proved their love.
There are a few people who come clearly to mind as truth tellers in my life as I sit here writing this and I am so grateful to have you in my life. Barney, and Josh, and Karen, Tammy, and Christine, and Elizabeth ( and I am sure a few other unnamed until you jump into my prayers of gratitude tonight)THANK YOU for loving me enough to prevent me from stumbling in the dark endlessly, and for being willing at times to hurt me in order to help me wake up and continue on the journey. I am so very grateful for your strength and courage, and unworthy of your faithful friendship, but so very, very grateful.