True Friends

Ponder this quote, “Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints on your heart.”

I love rainy days. Last Thursday was just that…woke up to rain. I was more than excited knowing that I had at least two kids home which meant an opportunity to catch up with them a little. Sometimes I forget they are young adults, but it didn’t take me long to realize they had “agendas” already in place. I can’t be mad…that is something I have been teaching and trying to live out loud before them for a while……”those who have no plans….plan to fail!” They had plans….I had plans too but in the summer I gladly defer in order to spend time with them.

You can’t imagine how it made my day when I got the text from Collins to join her and her friend and mentor for lunch! I realized I was an invited guest…so I had to start doing the self-talk thing….”Sherry…be a good listener…..keep your mouth shut….listen and learn…and maybe you will be invited back!” Those were the kinds of things that were going through my head on the way to Longhorn. I have come to realize that sometimes in order to be included in on the kids’ plans…as young adults…I have to become…not so much a parent….I realize that I am their parent…but the role of telling them what to do….has greatly diminished….I am careful to suggest…and influence but it’s just not the same thing as when they were 14 and 15. I do a whole lot more listening. (I am a work in progress…but I am progressing!)

I am so glad God is teaching me to listen. I have realized when I am talking I am not learning very much. We all learn from others and at lunch on Thursday I learned a ton. Sterling Sharpe has mentored our kids for over 10 years now. The relationship with Sterling started with the fact that he was their dad’s teammate at USC years ago. Side note: one of the fabulous by-products of playing sports….some teammates become lifelong friends.

In fact, this post today is about being a TRUE friend! Sterling became our kids’ friend on the golf course. After a career-ending injury to his neck when playing in the NFL…Sterling became a football commentator for television but kept his competitive juices flowing by playing the non-contact sport of golf. This is why I love golf….It has given my kids friends of all ages……..! You can be 10 and play with a 30 year old and that is where Sterling and Collins’ friendship started. Sterling would pick up Collins to play golf at Spring Valley in the hot summers when she would be left out of the boys competitive foursome with the Murphy boys. A fast friendship/mentorship developed over the years.

The lunch on Thursday was a catch up kind of lunch….of “Tell me what you are doing Collins?” “What are your dreams?” “How was school this past year without golf?”…. As Collins was answering the questions….the conversation turned to the fact that Collins had not heard from someone that Sterling had asked her to email. Sterling said directly….”Why didn’t you call me and tell me you didn’t hear from them?” Collins sat there for a minute…she was gathering her thoughts….I wanted to speak up but I bit my tongue………..! After a minute Collins proceeded to tell him…she felt as if she would have been bugging him…and taking advantage of her friendship with him. She didn’t want to impose….at that point….Sterling looked hurt…..He said to Collins, “I thought we were friends?” Collins response was, “WE are!!” At that point…there was a long pause… and the mentoring started….I loved it……for the next 30 minutes Sterling began to talk to Collins about what the definition of a TRUE FRIEND IS!!! As a parent you cannot imagine how thankful I was!! Collins was getting to hear and learn from someone she admired, respected and trusted about the definition of a true friend.

Sterling began by telling her…in life…true friends are hard to find. They are those friends that you come to look at as family, “brothers/sisters”. You don’t immediately know who they are and only the passing of time will reveal that to you. He explained that some so-called friends are actually takers. They take from you and take from you but, he warned…..if they don’t give back…beware……they are called “takers!” Takers are NOT true friends.

He shared how a “True” friendship involves giving and taking. You don’t necessarily have to give “things” as much as you should give your time. The amount of time they had spent together, Sterling shared, demonstrated this kind of friendship and that was her gift to him. You see, Collins didn’t see that “time” on the golf course as her gift to Sterling. He had given her some pretty nice gifts, “things,” such as a “My girl” customized putter and his TIME. Collins felt that she had not adequately reciprocated in their friendship through “gifts”…. needless to say, he set her straight.

Great wisdom was shared that day! He continued to tell her TRUE friendships are built on “time”. He then turned the conversation to the subject of the fact that true friends don’t depart when things go wrong in your life. In fact, he pointed out that TRUE FRIENDS show up when things DO go wrong. They don’t become “Ghosts!”….they are there……. a real presence in a time of need…He said…if a “friend” becomes a ghost when times are down … you need to “rethink” that friendship. He even added…I know you have had some “down” times this last year…now would be a good time to assess “who your true friends are?”

It reminded me of I Samuel 20 where we find true friendship in Jonathan and David. They went through some hard times together. Verse 42 lays out the depth of their friendship, “Then Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.’…” They were committed to be there for each other, even future generations!

Another important aspect he shared was about being a “Giver” as a friend. Pay attention to your valued relationships and pour into them…stay in touch….He also said that people are busy; understand busy and carve out time for TRUE friends. He also pointed out those friends who may be “high maintenance” friends… he noted to her that they can be draining if they “take too much”…and, over time she would better discern the sincerity of people. “Sincerity of people” cannot be hidden….”it will show up in the headlights of their actions!” I loved this……Sterling was basically telling her the scripture found in Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” He said….a TRUE FRIEND is like a BROTHER!! Collins could relate…she has two brothers who are her best friends…they have never departed during adversity!

I walked away from the luncheon thinking about those who have walked in and out of my life. Those who have been true friends have left “footprints on my heart” in countless ways.

My hope from this post…is that you will not only evaluate your friendships….but that you might evaluate what kind of friend you are.
Are you available or sensitive to your “friends” when adversity strikes?
Or, are you conveniently absent in times of adversity?
Maybe you are so busy…that you haven’t taken the time and life has gotten in the way….and you haven’t NURTURED and SPENT or GIVEN TIME to those you deem to be your friends?

It is never too late to become a TRUE FRIEND……..From that luncheon….I did some reevaluating as well…..of my actions toward those ” Who I deem as friends!” Realizing the saying…..is so true …”To have Good friends… YOU have to BEEEEEEE A good friend!”

Where do you want to leave your footprint? In the doorway or on someone’s heart?

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