Posted by: deerharas | March 19, 2010

If you want a friend …

Over Christmas break, my mom and some of her small group friends organized a mother/daughter get together, and as part of said get together I was to come prepared to answer two questions:

1) What is something your mom did that you will NOT repeat when you’re a mother?

2) What is one quality that you most appreciate about your mother?

On the way over I asked her if she was nervous about the first one.  Her response was, “Should I be?”  Actually the first question was a lot more difficult for me to answer than the second.  I ended up retelling two dance anecdotes involving a wrong colored pair of tights (pic to come) and lack of a ponytail holder at a critical moment.  Neither were true criticisms, only humorous incidents.  However, as difficult as it was to come up with an answer for number one, I knew immediately how I would respond to the second.

My mother is probably the most selfless person I know.  She makes countless sacrifices for the benefit of family, friends and even strangers.  From her patient love for children with special needs at school to her sacrificial love for her own children at home, my mother is a natural caregiver.  She volunteers at church, at the library, and at nursing homes.  She plans trips all over Texas to see the cousins run in meets/play games/act in plays.  She is a giver.  And as the daughter of such a giver, it’s easy to be a taker.  My mother certainly models selfless love for me, but being giving and other-centered isn’t always the easiest task for me.  Her example has doubtlessly been influential, but getting through to this fundamentally selfish girl sometimes requires words.

Yesterday I was griping to a few friends (And as a side-note, can I just say that I have the BEST friends?  Those who indulge my ridiculously long and rambling story telling tendencies have my undying gratitude.) about some disappointments; basically I was being pouty and completely inwardly focused.  As I listened to the words I was speaking, my spirit just hurt.  Not because of the disappointment, but because I realized how little I had been thinking of others lately.  How little I had been praying for others lately.  How little I had been serving others lately.

This epiphany (which wasn’t really an epiphany at all, considering this is nothing new to me … is it possible to have a recurring epiphany?) began to sharpen as I recalled a phrase oft repeated in my home growing up.  Whenever I would complain to my mom about friends, either the quality or lack of, she would say, “If you want a friend, be a friend.  Find someone who needs a friend, and be a friend to them, Sarah.”  Of course that wasn’t fun to hear, but it was wise.  And selfless.

And while my issues yesterday didn’t concern friends, the same principle carries over.  Rather than inwardly focusing on what I don’t have, I have the opportunity to throw myself into the service of others.  Whether that be through listening, praying, or even just being faithful in schoolwork in preparation for a future of service to others, there’s plenty to keep my mind off self.  Because being a friend is about the other.

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