I am lucky to find myself late in life with a few good friends with whom I can be completely transparent, completely myself. I am accepted by them not in spite of my weakness, but loved because the weakness is part of my whole; it makes me who I am, and I am seen by them through the eyes of unconditional grace.
They are the people who know the way in which I follow Jesus, who know I have bipolar, who understand why I do not attend a brick-and-mortar church, who do not judge or shame me when depression sets in or when hypomania gets the best of me.
My true friends are the ones who cry with me, identify with me, laugh with me and sit silently with me. They are the ones who lift me up, text with me, get me, and grok me, and when they don’t, they hang with me anyway.
These friends on the surface are nothing at all like me and down deep at the core are everything like me. They have questions and doubt, a desire to learn and grow, carry the burden of bipolar, depression, anxiety, and lupus yet have faith which carries them through every circumstance.
While I have blood and in-law relatives, only one is truly family along with these few good friends, because to me, friends are the ones you reach for in the middle of the night, the ones who have your back, the ones you are loyal to through thick and thin.
There is no greater way to love than to give your life for your friends. (John 15:13)
So, to Donna, Paul, Theresa, Laurie, Tony and Mel – Thank you.