Friends. Over my lifetime, I have had many friends. The only person I ever considered to be my best friend was my husband. Growing up I don’t remember ever having a best friend. Most likely that is from being raised in the military (at least that is what I have always blamed it on).

Being a military brat, there were always new faces around. And you had plenty of friends, but none of the friendships ever lasted beyond the next move. You see, either we were moving or the family of my friend would move. I learned to adapt. Those friendships were great for the time and place, but when we got to the next place there would be other people and friends. I never kept in touch with the friends I left behind after we moved (there were a couple that I tried to keep up with, but as kids, that never lasted long, we each had other friends to engage with where we were).

This morning I was reflecting on what I read last night in Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend (I’m trying to read one self-improvement book per month this year). Last night the chapter I was reading was “Boundaries and Your Friends.”  I was able to see myself in many of the situations described in the chapter (probably not a good thing). Mostly, the compliant friend. Again, I think that goes back to having to make new friends all the time. It was easy to be compliant to make a new friend.

As I reflected, I thought about being a military brat and making new friends every time we moved. Then I moved onto the friendships I have now. In many ways, I feel like I’m back to that (scared) military brat kid. I have many friends, but sometimes I wonder when one of us will move on (I think that is the cancer talking). I find that I can easily adapt to new friends (probably because I am the compliant friend) but I often struggle to keep meaningful relationships going (or maybe that is just self-doubt talking to me).

After my husband passed away, I sold our house and moved closer to friends. Because of the toll cancer has taken on my body I needed a lot of help from friends – packing, moving, unpacking. Then in December, I had surgery and I needed more help – rides, meals and general help around the house.

Share each other’s burdens

Friends were great about helping out. Many rallied to the call for help. But once the crisis is/was over, I find myself apprehensive to call for fear they will wonder what I need now.

And that leads me to ponder – how am I being a friend to them? Am I listening to them? Am I offering support? (Physically, I can’t offer much help – certainly I can’t carry a couch up stairs if you are moving, but I am willing to hang out and listen if you need an ear). Am I offering a two-way street?

I worry some people don’t share their problems because they don’t want to burden me, but Galatians 6:2 says “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” I have shared my burdens, how can I lighten your load?