One of my first posts back when I started this blog was called, "Friendship is Hard." I wrote about how difficult it is to truly find a friendship that is real and meaningful. It is a rare delight to be yourself with someone and be accepted.
I've been reminded of an important part of growing friendships. The conflicts that arise, that tension is the very place where a friendship is tested and found stronger... or weaker. For example, when Christ commends Peter for his testimony, "You are the Christ!" and then in the next few lines condemns Peter for his refusal to accept that Christ would suffer and die -- that is a milestone in their relationship. Peter could have run away, defended himself with hostile words, or he could have learned from his Master, his friend. And even though he denies Christ later on, he remains one of Jesus' closest and most loyal disciples when all is said and done.
When a friendship has a test of some kind, the heart of the relationship is laid bare. Just as in a marriage, how we deal with disagreements or confrontations will determine if the marriage goes forward and stronger, or begins to deteriorate.
I have never been one to run head-long into a confrontation. I'm the one running full speed in the opposite direction. But I'm learning that in all the relationships that are deep and rich to me, there has been a moment of truth - a place where we say, "This needs to be dealt with," and "Where do we go from here?"
So, yes, friendship is still hard. But it's hard because everything that means something takes work and effort. It's hard because I'm so very human and so unlike the Christ I want to be.