I met my first friend when I was two years old. I can’t remember much about it, or really anything at all. I do remember that she has been my first friend for my lifetime minus a couple years. She is my sister.
My sister had it rough living with me. I remember every nasty, rotten, hurtful, and ugly thing I ever do to her. They are constant reminders of the sins from which I constantly flee. Those traumas keep me from being that beast I was in my adolescence. Beyond that, she functioned as my social secretary and lifestyle coach. She would organize all our social activities. She also led my other siblings in their attempts to influence the way I dresses and lived.
I have been doing some analysis of my personality lately, and it has reinforced my lack of social graces. My sister, contrariwise spent her adolescence in the pursuit of food, folks, and fun. If I kept her grounded, she kept me sociable. My sister has been my rational tether. Whenever my lack of personality would drive me into my hermitage, she would crawl into my cave and drag me into the sunshine. I shudder to think how maladjusted I would be without her influence in my life.
The relationship between me and my sister points out the need for different personalities engaging one another. My sister and I are very different people. For all the frustration that I would feel when she dragged me to some social event and stayed longer than I wanted, I give thanks for God’s grace in allowing her in my life to counter some of the deficiencies in my own character.
We need people not like us. We need polar opposites of our personalities. They watch our backs. They see the blindspots we all live with. That is why God created the church, not individual Christians. We need those frustrating people for they see the issues to which often we remain blind.
These days, my sister no longer functions as my social secretary. She has delegated the responsibility for my wardrobe and lifestyle to others. Instead she models the grace of wife and mother. With all her own family responsibilities, she has not abandoned her quest to improve my life. As frustrating as that pursuit might seem to me, I am touched that she has not abandoned her project. It reminds me that I still need improvement.
My sister called to remind me of her birthday. She asked me if I remembered anything that happened today. I said, “Nothing good.” I hope she knew I could never mean that. All my family means the world to me, but no one will ever be my first friend other than my sister. Dealing with me without excessive violence means that she must love me greatly. I hope she knows how much I love my first friend.