To ensure the privacy of others not involved in this blog, all characters will be given pseudonyms in this post and any post following from here on out.
I’ve wondered what I would post as the heralded “first blog post.” There’s a myriad of possibilities ranging from camp tales to sermons to a random story. But, I’m not going to talk about any of those today. I’m just going to start with what’s fresh and what’s fresher than a story picked today?
To provide a little bit of back story, I was always the “Mom” friend. I grew up the mature and responsible one. After watching three boys grow up older than you, you learn what mistakes not to make. People rely on me to have the answers to their problems and the puzzle pieces to their jigsaw of life. I fully accepted that position, but a few hours ago, everything changed.
Fast forward to today. It’s fifth period, approximately 11:45 a.m. and Coach Boulder is giving a lesson on active listening: the art of listening to understand, not to respond. To successfully be an active listener, one must also recognize an important truth. You don’t need to give advice. Walking alongside a friend as moral support is all that’s required. Why, you ask? The advisor can quickly be the victim of blame when supposedly good ideas fail. An unhealthy dependency can also develop and the friendship can be doomed to fail.
Listening to Coach Boulder’s lesson, I was shocked. As the 24/7/365 go-to contact for many people, all I had grown to know how to do was offer a plan of action. Many of my relationships were a one-sided need for answers to the problems that couldn’t be solved with “e. all of the above.” Hearing, “you don’t need to give advice,” was a foreign delicacy, a dessert I had never considered tasting.
The day progressed and my mind continued to churn around my newfound insight. I remembered Psalm 16:8 that reads, “I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” It occurred to me that maybe, to truly be Christ-like, walking next to someone is all it takes to help them through. With Jesus on one side and a strong friend on the other, what could go wrong?
Today, my view on my relationships has changed. I’m not the “Mom” friend, knower of all things wise and responsible. I’m just a teenager who was given a strong gift of empathy and a large heart full of love for those who need it. It’s not my job to fix what I didn’t break. It’s my job to simply be a friend and nothing less.