One of my favorite authors, Henri Nouwen said: “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.”
This is the person that I want to be, but have recently come to realize that I have fallen short of being. I have become good at giving advice, because so many people ask for mine. I have gotten used to providing solutions, because there are so many people that have needed me to do that. It is my natural instinct to try and provide a cure, because I don’t like to see anyone suffer. While all of this is good and necessary, it sometimes gets in the way of my being able to grow in meaningful and lasting friendship, because people feel that they have to live up to some expectation.
Sometimes when I offer advice, solutions and cures, it is frustrating to see them fall on what I often mistakenly perceive to be deaf ears and bruised hearts. This has caused me to get caught up in the manipulation game that so much of the world wants to play in and what gets in the way of genuine, caring, meaningful and growing relationships. I am not God and I have got to learn to trust Him to take care of the stuff that is above my pay grade.
I want to be a real friend! I want to share the pain of those that I care about, not judge it, correct it, manipulate it, advise it, solve it or cure it. I want to touch the wounds of those I love with a warm and tender hand, not a hand of correction or perfection. I want to be this kind of friend, because this is the kind of friend that I want and need.
Please forgive me for where I have fallen short and for where I may have failed you. It is not because of a lack of love for you. It is not because I believe myself to be better than you. It is simply because I am a man and I often miss the mark, but I am learning and promise to try and do better.
Thank you for being my friend and as I work to provide you with true and meaningful friendship, I hope that you can find the grace to maybe do the same for me, because the truth is: We all need each other, if we are going to live blessed.