Sunday, September 12, 2010

Crystal Clear

I love my friend Crystal. She's pretty amazing. She was my freshman roommate in college. I really thought I wouldn't like her, since she seemed like someone from the "cool" crowd (which I've never been). But we hit it off and we've been best friends ever since. We were in each other's weddings. I'm godmother to her darling son. Even though we live in different states, we talk several times a week and I try to see her every time we go to Ohio. I adore her.

Just one thing: She. Kicks. My. Butt.

Crystal tells it like it is. She doesn't sugar coat things. If I'm taking a road she doesn't like, she yanks me back by the collar and shoves me toward the other path. If anyone out there wants a boot camp where—instead of working out—the instructor simply tells you to get your act together and move forward, Crystal's your drill sergeant. Hire her immediately.

A couple of weeks ago, I was complaining to Crystal how much trouble I was having getting motivated to exercise. She immediately said, "Did you pray about it?" I said, "" She jumped all over my case. To paraphrase: "Rachel, how can you say that you're all into God when you don't pray when you need help? What, you think he's not going to help you? Rachel! Get on it!"

Yes, ma'am!

I prayed about it later that day. I prayed for determination and the will to be healthy and work out and eat better. And wouldn't you know it? I've worked out every day for the last two weeks. I've been eating smaller portions without counting points or anything—which I have to admit is some sort of divine intervention—and I've lost over four pounds. God is good. God is powerful. I doubted. Crystal kicked my butt. Miracles happened. I then thanked God for Crystal.

Believe it or not, this butt-kicking is not Crystal's best quality. Her best quality is her loyalty. I don't think I'll ever find a more loyal friend. She never talks behind your back, she'll defend you tooth and nail to anyone who speaks ill of you, and if she happens to hear gossip about you, she doesn't propagate it; she brings it directly to you. It's hard to find those qualities in a girl. Girls are very prone to gossip. Not Crystal.

I'm telling you all of this because, while I understand her honesty, I don't always love it. Sometimes you just don't want to hear that the choices you're making are bad ones. Sometimes it comes across as a little harsh. This has not been easy to get used to. I'm an extremely sensitive gal, and Crystal does try to take that into account these days, but at first it was a little jarring. 

It's part of who Crystal is. It's just her nature. I'd never had someone be so honest with me—sometimes so honest it hurts—and at the same time know that she's coming from a place of love and friendship. Truly.

We've been friends for over ten years now. We talk about things like parenting and marriage, and we can be tough on each other. But it's a good relationship. It's a good relationship because we take the whole package. 

Catie made a great post today about love using a quote from Dr. James McDonald:

"We cannot indiscriminately reap the benefits of a person's positive characteristics and at the very same time lament their weaknesses. To love is to buy the whole package. It's the choice to focus on the good and keep on seeing it...for a lifetime." 

This is so true. In our friendships, in our marriages, in any relationship you have, you take the good with the bad. Crystal is tough and doesn't let me get away with anything. It's not always my favorite quality. I'm a know-it-all. I'm like a sponge that sucks up information and seems to squeeze the info back out when people least want to hear it. It's not always her favorite quality. We know this about each other. We accept this about each other. We always know that there are times these seemingly annoying qualities will actually come in handy, like when I'm struggling to figure myself out or if she needs to phone a friend on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? OK, so the latter hasn't happened yet, but I know I'd be first on her speed dial. It may have actually taken us a full ten years to get to this point, but we're here. We love each other no matter what idiosyncrasies we each have. We're set.

Think about your friends. Do you have a list in your head of things that drive you crazy about that person? Throw the list away. Or, better yet, figure out how those things that drive you crazy can actually be things that draw you closer together. It doesn't have to take ten years.

Who knows?  You just might find that the quality that makes you cringe is the one you need the most.


  1. You are so well spoken!

    It seems like few and far between are the people that truly have the time and/or energy these days to stick it out with you. Whether it be in a marriage or friendship. We all need more people in our lives like Crystal. :)

  2. I've discovered that it's harder to make good friends now that I'm married. I was able to spend so much time with my friends before, but now I feel stretched so thin. It really takes a long time to get to know someone and build what seemed so easy to build when I was single. *sigh* Guess all that time is well spent making sure I know my husband, though!

  3. I have a handful of friends who are truly special in their own way. We are not all exactly alike - we have our differences and it's amazing how God has used their differences from me to help me out whenever I needed it. And vice versa. You are so right, the things that actually drive you crazy about your friends can draw you closer together!

  4. I have a Crystal. or something like her. I think everyone should have someone who will just tell you how it is.

  5. This was a great post! I love being honest, but not to hurt my friend's feelings, but to help them (and myself) see that we aren't always at our best, but we can strive to be so! I love the quote from McDonald, too!!


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