I like the kind of friendship that can tolerate differences.
I went to visit my best friend Lucy in California two moths ago. We have been known each other for years. I met her when I was in high school and she was in college. Being away from our hometowns, we rented a house together.
Lucy was my first Bible teacher – she studied the Bible with me once a week. She saw things from another perspective and I admired her a lot. The most impressive thing she ever told me was when I complimented her. “Don’t look at me. Look at Jesus. People will always let you down, but Jesus will not,” she said.
When a friend asked me if there was anyone that has treated me like Jesus does, I thought about Lucy.
I came to the United States two years ago. She went to a Christian University in California last August. I decided that I would visit her during Christmas.
It seemed like that I have grown too much. I do not learn from her as I did when I was younger or see her as someone I admire very much. Now I have more different kinds of thoughts.We started to argue on lots of topics about politics and our own theology. Sometimes when we were arguing in Chinese, her host parents would be looking at us worried. We would smile and explain we were all right, and that was just the way we communicate.
Today, I got a call from Lucy. She apologized to me for being “mean” to me. She told me her host mom Mary still did not understand the way we communicated and believe we could still be good friends. I laughed.
“To me, being who you are is more important than being polite,” I said.
I have thanked God countless times for giving me Lucy as a friend. Now I am not a girl anymore, and I found our personalities are so different. When I was younger, I got mad during arguments. I’ve since learned to disagree without arguing and tolerate differences. These things have been a big lesson to me.
Now my faith has taught me that as long as it’s not personal attack, being able to listen to different ideas could be a great gain. Being in a totally different culture forces me to be more tolerant, otherwise suffered. Being ready to learn and open-minded has given me the key to a happier life. I had experiences when I left my friends because I could not agree on them. But now, I see a real friendship as one that sustains in spite of free expression of different ideas. It’s like marriage – every couple has problems, including the happy ones; but the ones that are willing to stretch themselves to finding better ways to solve the problems instead of avoid them are more likely to be successful in their relationships. Love is not without problems. Love is confronting and solving problems with a heart that is willing to grow bigger.