December 16. Prompt. Friendship: How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?
I believe more and more that good friends are the ones who give constructive feedback, insight and affirmation on life, career, family, relationships, ministry, faith, etc.; who offer different perspectives and solutions when you feel stuck, discouraged or frustrated; who are bluntly honest when you make a stupid mistake; who nurture, forgive, love and accept you regardless of your shortcomings. I’m blessed to have many good friends.
The best of the bunch is my wife Elizabeth. I can always count on her to give it to me straight. I don’t always like what she says but it’s truth spoken in love. Although we share the same set of ideologies and beliefs, she often offers a different (world/political/life/faith/social) perspective or view I hadn’t previously considered. Or she calls out my own hypocrisy when I’m being too judgmental about another person’s choice or view. Or she calls me out if my head is getting too big. Or she reminds me that I’m being a neanderthal when we’re having dinner in public. Or she bluntly tells me I’m being petty, stubborn or just a plain jerk for over-reacting to something that’s not worth the time or effort….all of which help me be a better man, husband, dad, friend and pastor.
Through Elizabeth’s own unique gifts of humor, strength, independence, compassion and fortitude, I constantly gain new perspective about what it means to be a confident, kind, caring, loving, polite and respectful human being. And I also have new found appreciation for how incredible Elizabeth and all women are to put up with all the crap that we knuckle-headed guys dish out.
Most of all, Elizabeth gives unconditional love. No matter how often I mess up (and believe me I’m a pretty messy guy, not always the easiest to live with) she loves and forgives me. How could my perspective and my entire life not change as a result?