The Proof of Friendship
by Kathryn Taylor

My friends have proven themselves today...
They didn't have to, but I had asked...
I couldn't believe on faith-
Like Thomas did so long ago,
I had to press my fingers into the holes,
The holes in the hand of friendship-

Almost everyone carries friendship wounds,
Scars of broken promises,
Those crippled by severed relationships-
Sometimes, if you watch me closely, you will see me limping…..
I limp because I can still feel the pain-
Other times, though, I just limp out of habit-
Shying away, I seek to protect myself-
I walk a fine line of what I long for,
Yet fear the chasms of isolation on either side of me-
I feel driven by my desire for acceptance-
Carrying the burdens from my past,
I realize that I alone have shackled them to myself-
They are heavy and cause my pace to slow-
Each time I'm allowed to see and feel the proof for myself,
I'm able to leave one more burden by the wayside-
Soon, I pray, very soon,
I will be able to leave them behind by faith alone-
I want to have friendships without demanding proof,
And I want to be a friend without always trying to prove……
But, right now I am here-

Jesus stood patiently, allowing Thomas to find his proof-
My friends, also, have lovingly said,
"Come, see for yourself. Take what you need so you'll know…..
so that you'll believe…….
So you can grow into what God meant for you to be."
For that, and so much more, dear friends,
I say, "Thank you."

2001All rights reserved, ã Kathryn Taylor
Copying without permission for non-personal use is forbidden

Friendships are hard, just as all relationships are.  However, it is easier to isolate from friends.  Whenever other relationships are strained, we cannot remove ourselves completely because they are family, or co-workers, or clients, etc.  We are tied to them in more ways than just a desire to spend time with them.  We all pass through childhood, each with our own baggage of memories of hurts and pleasures, experiences that shape who we are and how we relate.

When parenting children with emotional and behavioral problems, it tests the limits of all that we are.  Like salt in a wound, RAD and other disorders invade the damaged tissue, bringing pain and grief.  Longtime friends pull away or blame, never realizing how wrong they are or how terribly they've hurt us.  We retreat to our places of safety, afraid to risk again, but the pain of aloneness pushes us to risk just one more time.  God, in His love and wisdom, brings new friends into our lives.  Wounded, battered, tired and afraid, we seek companionship with those suffering the same journey.  Like the Israelites, we head out of the bondage of aloneness into the desert of RAD together.  It is different from the life we've known before, yet somehow embarking on the journey with our fellow travelers, seems safer.  There are hardships and dangers ahead, but God is with us and we are not alone.  We battle the heat of hate and the hunger of love together.  We long for the Promised-land of healing for each of our families.  We journey into unknown territories staying close to each other, however we can.  May we build relationships that last as our families grow and change.  May we never forget what we have endured together.  May we cry the tears of those that are hurting, may we rejoice in the joys of our fellow travelers, and may we love each other just where we are.

Kathryn Taylor