True Friendship

December 8, 2014 | My Jottings

Good Monday morning! It’s beautiful in my neck of the woods today — a very fluffy two inches of snow has fallen, and every twig and branch is covered. I went outside last night to let Edith and Mildred go potty, and some of the flakes falling were the size of quarters.

Have you read any of Shauna Niequist’s books? I thought her Bread and Wine was one of the most honest, inspiring and comforting books I’ve ever read. Now I’m reading Shauna’s Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life, and as I read last night before being afraid to go to sleep (more on that later), this paragraph on friendship was a balm on my soul:

“True friendship is a sacred, important thing, and it happens when we drop down into that deeper level of who we are, when we cross over into the broken, fragile parts of ourselves. We have to give something up in order to get friendship like that. We have to give up our need to be perceived as perfect. We have to give up our ability to control what people think of us. We have to overcome the fear that when they see the depths of who we are, they’ll leave. But what we give up is nothing in comparison to what this kind of friendship gives to us. Friendship is about risk. Love is about risk. If we can control it and manage it and manufacture it, then it’s something else, but if it’s really love, really friendship, it’s a little scary around the edges.”  p. 50, Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist

I think one of the reasons this paragraph struck me as it did, is because I have always had this lurking core belief that if people stuck around long enough, they would eventually leave. Not knowing the seeds they were planting, my parents used to tell me when I was a little girl that I would never have any friends if I didn’t stop being so bossy. I thought I was just directing and helping things along when I would tell my friends what we were going to play and how, but this began to nurture in me a false belief that I was not worthy enough, interesting enough, for people to be friends that would stick around forever. I have other good reasons to have this icky, corrupt core belief, even if it’s a false one. I do not embrace this belief at all, but do all I can to make it shrivel and die. It has definitely shriveled over the decades. It used to be this big, juicy poisonous thing, watermelon-sized. In my thirties it had shrunk to the size of a prune. I think it’s pretty much like a raisin now. Shriveled and small, yes, but not completely dried up yet.

Maybe someday when my skin is as dry and shriveled as the two exquisitely beautiful women friends pictured above, all my crippling thoughts and ways will have completely dried up as well.

In the meantime, I’m grateful for books written by brave and transparent people who come alongside, so to speak, and whisper kindly, “You are not alone…..”


  1. Roberta Desalle says:

    Thank you so much for introducing me to Shauna Niequist’s writings. For months now, I have borrowed and returned to the Library, before finishing, books in many different categories,. I found myself unable to give my time to reading them because the authors focused, in detail, primarily on the dark and ugly side of human behaviors with no hope or help for redemption.
    I feel I can count on you, Julie, not to veer off course. Your entire being is “set like flint” in the direction of Jesus Christ—not in a sentimental, superficial way, but taking up the increasingly difficult challenge of “putting on the whole armor of God”.
    Thank you for your model of steadfastness.

  2. Just Julie says:

    I would love to know more about what you think about Shauna’s books, Roberta.

    I’m not sure what you’ve ascribed to me here is completely accurate, but it surely puts in words what I hope the Lord will work out in my life someday. Thank you. No matter how much I falter and wane here in this life, there’s no going back for me. Jesus is the only One for me. God bless your day, dear Roberta! xoxo

  3. Tauni says:

    Again, a little late in responding ~ These two women remind me of what you and I will be doing in our “golden” years ~ if only we lived closer together. We may have to do it via FaceTime :)! Love you much my friend!!

  4. Just Julie says:

    I smiled at picturing what you said, Taun. Yes, FaceTime, but maybe a trip to be together for a long weekend every couple of years? Then when we could really have “face time”….love to you, dear friend…. xoxo

  5. Jessica Town says:

    I love Shauna Neiquist!!! Our book club read “Bread and Wine” a few years ago and then got together and cooked some of the recipes together. Her risotto was amazing. Her books are wonderful. Did you know she’s on Instagram?

  6. Just Julie says:

    Yes, I follow her on Instagram. I haven’t made her risotto yet but I now make my scrambled eggs differently and they are better than I’ve ever had! Thanks to her… xoxo I loved that book too.

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