Take a couple of minutes to soak in this statement from Henri Nouwen:
No two friends are the same. Each has his or her own gift for us. When we expect one friend to have all we need, we will always be hypercritical, never completely happy with what he or she does have.
One friend may offer us affection, another may stimulate our minds, another may strengthen our souls. The more able we are to receive the different gifts our friends have to give us, the more able we will be to offer our own unique but limited gifts. Thus, friendships create a beautiful tapestry of love..
I like the way Nouwen warns us against over-investing in any one friendship, but even more I love the imagery of how a community of people can form into a tapestry, with each person offering his or her own unique gifts of friendship.
I find myself reflecting on how much of that is true for me among my friends – no one person provides everything that I might need in a friendship, nor should they. Some provide great, deep discussion, some enjoy laughing with me, some give me perspective on my children and the job that I do as a parent, some share PC or video gaming experiences with me. I’m grateful for the joys of each of those unique experiences. And I find myself hoping that, in my own community, I am doing a decent job of offering my own “unique but limited gifts.”