Sunday, March 29, 2009

Makeup Mirrors and Graveyards

"Every man should have a fair-sized cemetery in which to bury the faults of his friends."
-- Henry Brooks Adams

I have no idea who Henry Brooks Adams is, but the guy made a great point.

When I was in college, I had a lighted makeup mirror. . It had a border of bright lights and the mirror could be switched to a magnifier. All I can say now is "UGH" about the thought of magnification. Every little line, pore, and blemish--I can't hide from what I see. My husband loves my eyes, but somehow blemishes and lines stand out more to me when I look in a magnifying mirror.

The same is true with friendship. The more time we spend with someone, I can say with 100% certainty that we'll see flaws and faults we didn't notice at first. Just like looking in the mirror, we can't miss those imperfections. They're magnified, unfortunately. We can't escape the reflection of truth. And sooner or later, lest we get smug and congratulate ourselves at what a wonderful friend we are, we end up showing own faults for our friends to see.

So shouldn't surprise us when our friends show us their faults, and we need to head out to the cemetery that Mr. Adams speaks of. We must shoulder our shovel, drag our friend's offending fault behind us, and start shoveling.

As we dig, we must say, "I know this is my friend's fault/flaw. Because they are my friend and I love them, I will bury this fault and won't keep it with me. I choose not to hold this against them." We are all works in progress, and our friends remind us of this without saying a word.

Sometimes small offenses can pile up over time, and before we know it, we're lugging a wheelbarrow full of them with us. One friend or another has misspoken or treated us carelessly, and we never make that trip to bury their fault. This can damage friendships over time, even small things. Recently I have learned just that. Someone had offended me, not in a large way, and I lugged the incident around for far, far longer than I should have.

On the other hand, I also recently have been reminded that my own faults can irritate, or worse, injure my friends. But this is what friends are for--not to be injured, but to remind us of where we fall short. Friends are the ones who will not hold our faults against us. Instead, our friends will simply hug us, pick up their shovel, and head for the graveyard of forgiveness where our faults are buried.

We should ask ourselves:

Am I carrying reminders of my friend's faults?
Do I need to forgive my friend's offenses or bury those irritations against me?
Do I need to think more before I speak and/or act?
Am I thinking of what I want, more than what is important to my friend?
Do I need to ask forgiveness from my friend?

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. " Colossians 3:12-14

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." Proverbs 27:6

Miss any previous posts? Check out Friendship Series, and read from the bottom up.

1 comment:

Renae said...

Lynette, this is a beautiful post, and so true! My faults are so numerous. How dare I hold a fault against a friend, when that person chooses to be my friend in spite of all MY flaws? Great words of wisdom.