Years back I learned that some people I initially viewed as homely (as in Abraham Lincoln homely), had such inner kindness and spirit, I soon viewed them as lastingly handsome or beautiful. I’ve learned to suspend judgment, waiting for God to show me what's inside and regard introductions as opportunities to explore. Stand and admire when meeting new people, as when entering an art gallery. Michelangelo looked at marble blocks asking God to show him the shapes imprisoned inside, awaiting release. Now when I meet people, I also ask God to show me what He’s placed there.
I initially met most of the Ponderers at best-selling author Susan May Warren’s first Storycrafters Retreat and remember first impressions:
- Reba was wise but humorous.
- Heidi a spontaneous storyteller and gifted humorist.
- Ginger championed romance with hints of mystery.
- Alena conquered NYC and then Texas, producing vast material to write about.
- Beth was a professional and stylish doctor’s wife—maybe common ground since both my sons are doctors.
- Amy was local, I knew her slightly, but found there was much more below the surface.
- Jen was a nurturer and Susie’s friend.
- Melissa was the sweet girl next door with killer plots.
- Marie was a hard worker devoted to historic detail.
- Jennie was a master gardener and master plot-designer.
- Lisa was a tender-hearted romantic putting family first.
I'm richer for learning to withhold judgment. Though my initial Ponderer reads were incomplete, God now has added much more. Is it because Susie asked retreat attendees to prepare the soil by praying for 30 days prior? Did anyone besides God anticipate what He would initiate there? Besides church camp at age 12 where I became a Christian, I haven’t personally attended any event so strongly impacting my life with lasting relationships.
The best friendship formula? Common interests. Christ-centered lives seeking inspiration and expression through writing. Committed prayer. Yup, that sums it up—a perfect definition for Ponderer friends.
Now it’s your turn. What qualities do you see as essential to friendship?