Oh I said I'd been away, and he knew
Oh he knew the depths I was meanin'
And it felt so good to see his face
All the comfort invested in my soul
Oh to feel the warmth, of his smile
When he said, 'I'm happy to have you home.'
Oh oh-oh, I'm happy to have you home
Oh yeah, keep your head up, keep your heart strong”
Almost every year since I graduated from college, I get together with the same group of women. We all met my freshmen year of college and connected over Scripture, Applebee’s and road trips. We maintained our friendship over the years despite relocations, marriages and children (many children). I love these women because, despite the many seasons, I know them and they know me. And I don’t mean the superficial “know” in which we remember the same past. It’s the knowledge of who we are at our core, the things that break our hearts and the things that make our hearts sing. When I am with these women, I am reminded that there are safe places for me and that I am not alone.
The Ben Howard song , “Keep Your Head Up”, talks about the comfort of seeing an old friend who knows who you are and is happy to welcome you home. There is such immeasurable value in having friendships that rich. It’s oftentimes easy to forego depth for perceived safety but ultimately that leads to isolation. King David knew what it meant to be known and loved even when real safety was at stake. His dear friend Jonathan stood by him despite his father’s hatred towards David, loving him even in the midst of some of David’s darkest times (1 Samuel 20). Later, years after Jonathan's death, David remembered Jonathan’s kindness to him and extended similar kindness to Jonathan’s remaining son (2 Samuel 9). David knew the gift of being welcomed, encouraged, protected and loved.
I too have known this gift and because of it, have been moved to extend it to others. I am so much the woman I am today, the friend I am today, because of how I was befriended, encouraged, challenged and loved all those years ago. May we be this type of friend to others as we long for it ourselves. May we speak words of life that encourage, exhort and heal. May we let one another know, you are not alone.
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