Sturdy Shelter

by | Apr 14, 2021 | Society

“Let those who are friendly to you be many, but one in a thousand your confidant.” (Sirach 6:6 NAB) This has been my life motto since I was about 18.  I got burned many times by many people I considered “friends” while I was in high school.  I shared my heart with people I considered “friends” only for it to be trampled on by those same people.  I made a conscience decision to be kind to others, but to share my heart with very few.  This has made for a bit of a lonely journey, but God has always given me at least one person during the different seasons of my life that I was able to call that one in a thousand confidant!

Friendship is a tricky thing.  It has been one of those things that I have said, “I’m just not good at!”  I am introverted and cautious in new situations, thus I am definitely not the one who will start a conversation.  I am the mom that always stood alone waiting outside of the school for my children while other mothers talked and talked.  I refuse to play games to be accepted.  I wear my emotions on my sleeve, (and my face) and I always speak honestly about what I am feeling if I am asked.  I can see how this makes me look disinterested in people and friendships, but truly I am just observing and keeping to myself.  I observe everything, but I do not enter if I do not feel welcomed or accepted…You know, I won’t just make myself part of a conversation.

As I’ve aged, I realize that it’s not all that important to have the acceptance and approval of others.  What is important, is that I treasure the wonderful humans in my life that God has gifted me with. They are the blessing of true friendship and I work hard to make those relationships a priority.  I have the most amazing husband who knows my every thought (sometimes before I do) who I truly consider my best friend.  I have a few others who I consider friends and whom I have no problems sharing my heart and my life with and I know they will protect my heart.  The rest of the world I consider friendly acquaintances.  It’s not that I don’t love my acquaintances, I am just cautious about what I share with them and the value I place on their opinion of me.  See…friendship was tricky, but it doesn’t have to be.

Friendship, as defined by Webster, is a state of mutual trust and support between allied nations. See, mutual trust and support.  You will not have mutual trust and support with every, single person that enters your world.  Not every person is meant to be your friend…but some are!!  I think when I was in high school my vision was that everyone was supposed to be my friend…I was supposed to have the same level of intimacy with all people who were nice to me.  I was supposed to care about their opinion of me and work hard to make everybody happy.  I was wrong!!!  Yes, I need to be kind, but I do not need to be “besties” with everyone.  Today there are few people’s opinions of me that I really take to heart.  These people are those who understand and support the mission I am called to by God.  These people desire to journey with my in my mission and they will certainly call me out when I am not living that mission to the best of my ability.  I used to think being successful in friendship meant how many friends one had, but now I know it’s about the quality of friend you have.   Today I have maybe four people  in my life that share my mission and call me to greatness.  These four people I consider pure gifts from God! It is four people who I know would be there for me in an instant if I needed them and they know I’d do the same.

Sirach goes on to say in verse 13, “Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter; whoever finds one finds a treasure.”  I have found my sturdy shelter…Have you?

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Tara Brooke

Tara Brooke is a wife, mother, educator, and child of God.  Tara has worked in various aspects of ministry in the Catholic Church for over 20 years, her last years as a Director of Marriage and Family Life for her local diocese.  She now stays home and tends to the needs of her growing and beautiful family.  She has three biological children and two adopted children, both with Down Syndrome. She loves helping engaged couples grow in their understanding of the Sacrament of Marriage as well as helping enrich already married couples in growing in holiness together.  She resides in Bismarck, ND with her amazing husband, Deacon Dan! 

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