Friendliness: a disposition to goodwill, warmth, kindness to others you love.
In my opinion, friendliness lives alongside the likes of kindness, open-mindedness, confidence, and trust.
But also, friendliness leads to beautiful things.
To be friendly, one must be kind.
To be friendly, one must have an open mind to all manner of possibility.
To be friendly, one must have a confidence that isn't also condescending.
To be friendly, one must trust others but more importantly, one must trust that they themselves are ENOUGH without always receiving the friendliness of others.
I've been alive for 47 years. In that time, I've seen and experienced the full spectrum that friendliness has to offer.
As a small child I saw it in my pre-school teacher, Mrs. O'Neal. You could be the weirdest little kid in the room...little kids ARE the weirdest and most honest humans alive, after all...and regardless, you would be met with such warmth and love. Acceptance. You were ok and she understood you.
Like Shawnee, Oklahoma's very own Mr. Rogers.
As a girl in school, in church, in life, I remember those who were always friendly, even if what they were saying wasn't something I wanted to hear. They did their best to raise me up with loving kindness and with a friendliness that I often didn't deserve. I wanted to grow into who they believed I could be. I'd give you a list of names if I thought you'd recognize them.
I also remember those who weren't friendly. I still feel the sting of their words as I look back. They only grew bitterness. I'd give you a list of their names too, but that wouldn't be very friendly.
As a teenager? Well. People were friendly.... and people were NOT.
Including yours truly.
As a wife and as a MOTHER, I see the faces of my family when I'm both friendly and grouchy, and while grouchiness can't always be avoided, friendliness is much preferred!
A tip to remember when your 16 year-old is losing their mind...like they all tend to do at some point...scan your brain and look back to that insane child's life as a 2 year-old, and miraculously, the patience and love that you felt all those years ago will flood back to your heart in spades allowing your friendly face to reappear...and your child to LIVE another day.
There are many more instances over the years that come to mind, but a favorite example of friendliness and the beauty it has brought to MY life is this one:
A few years ago, I began dressing my son's high school marching band. This included measuring and getting fully into the space of 350 kids, each an individual. As a vetted board member, I traveled as far as Washington DC with the band, having not only cared for and packed each student's uniform, shoes, socks, hat and gloves...which was the job...but I also packed anything else they might need on a trip like deodorant, tampons, band-aids, hair ties, water, tums, etc., so they were well taken care of...NOT the job. And because I had trudged through MY teenage years to become a kind, open-minded, confident, trusting and trustworthy, friendly adult (a fiery, poor man's Mrs. O'Neal, if you will), they knew they could always come to me...if they needed a larger size, to ask if I'd "PLEASE run across the street to Hobby Lobby for a tux shirt because I forgot mine again," to see I knew a good bathroom for them to do #2 and not be mortally embarrassed forever and ever, to confide in me that things were rough at home, that they were gay, that their boyfriend was pushing for sex...and I was so happy to do my very best for them every single time, even if all I did was listen.
It would have been so easy to just keep track of things and make sure that everything had buttons, but HAD that been the case, I'd have missed out on SO. MUCH. BEAUTY. And the mutual ABSOLUTE adoration of 350 precious kids.
I regret NOTHING and I'd do it again and again.
So. I encourage you. Go out there. Be kind. Have an open mind. Exude confidence. Trust people. Be trustworthy.
Go find YOUR beauty in friendliness.
This week's blog writer is Chelley Brewer Davison. She is a wife, a mother, and a professional beekeeper...with a wicked dose of ADHD, more love than she can contain and the occasional tendency to write about it all. You will find her blogs at chelleydavison.com or on her Facebook page Chelleyisms.