Chronicles of Sadie

Flamingoes, Funny Videos, and Friendship

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Friendship manifests its fruits in a variety of different orchards, so to speak. In most cases, you expect to find the fruits of friendship in kind words spoken. Acts of service performed. Running to one’s defense when the whole world seems to rise up against them.

When we returned home from the hospital a few days after Sadie’s birth, I discovered a brand new expression of friendship fruitfulness: pink flamingoes. Let me explain.

The drive home from the hospital was filled with wonder and caution. My two princesses were both recovering from their traumatic week of change. I was simply the chauffeur for the royalty that graced the back seat of our little car.

As I approached our house, my eyes were drawn to a most curious sight. Lining both sides of our driveway were plastic pink flamingoes staked into the ground. To say that it was noticeable would be the understatement of the decade—no, on that day, our house stuck out like a big, pink sore thumb.

We laughed heartily and immediately began the mental process of determining which culprits in our life planted these plastic fowl in our yard. Yeah, that took about thirty seconds to figure out. It was a combination of our Pastor, Andrew Wharton, and our incredible friends, the Hollands.

That’s the funny thing about friendship: when you are close to someone, you immediately recognize the uniqueness of their handiwork. If I walk into my office and find a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries on my desk, I immediately know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are from Cindy Holland. If someone gifts me an album via iTunes, it is definitely from my buddy, Jonnie W. If I come home to find a stack of new clothes on my bed, it is no doubt from my wife or my mother-in-law—or a really confused thief who has a key to my house.

The nature of the gift or the act of affection is a reflection of the nature of the friendship. For example, we have a great friend named Dale Mathews who every year erects a host of inflatable Christmas ornaments in his front yard. Several years ago, these inflatables were ravished by vandals, much to the chagrin of Dale and his whole family.

Upon hearing this sad news, a few of us (his friends—wink, wink) decided to take action. The action we took was to steal the inflatables ourselves and send him an elaborate ransom video, which you can view HERE courtesy of the brilliant video stylings of Jeffrey Holland. Believe it or not, this gesture was an act of kindness—an unusual act that reveals the extent of our twisted minds, but kindness nonetheless.

Friendship, you see, is reflected in the actions, words, and gestures that we show to each other. That’s why the flamingoes were so much fun. The idea that our friends would take the time to christen our home on such a special day in our lives forever memorialized the experience for us. Did Sadie have any idea that those little pink critters were in her driveway? Not a chance—but we sure did.

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Friendship is a gift from God. From the get-go of God’s terranean creativity, he acknowledged that it is not good for us to be alone. Though marriage was the context of this declaration, the truth still remains that we were intended to be in relationship with others.

In my own life, my travels to various parts of the world have been greatly affected by the presence or absence of my wife. About six months into our marriage, I headed to Iceland for a month-long missions endeavor. That particular trek exposed me to untold beauty in the form of glacier, geysers, mountain peaks, and geothermic springs. It was probably the most extraordinary geography I’ve ever beheld, yet as I stood at the meeting point of the North American and European continental plates, I knew something was missing—my wife. The experience was wonderful, but it also brought a feeling of disappointment because the one I cared about the most was not present to share it with me.

Proverbs 18:24 says, “There are “friends” who destroy each other,but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” To stick close means to share in the moments of pain. Of joy. Of life. It doesn’t necessarily mean we will always be present for every detail, but it guarantees that our hearts, prayers, and spirits are desiring and working for the best of the other.

For me, this truth came to life in the form of those pink flamingoes. On that unforgettable day, my friends lined my driveway—and our lives—with a unique expression of celebration and love. The joy of Sadie’s arrival was the treasured gift we were able to share with close friends granted to us by God Himself.

May we never downplay the importance of this kind of friendship. No, may we rather learn to stick closer than brothers and sisters—even if that means staking pink flamingoes in each others’ yards—spiritually, of course.

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