As I got into the shower this morning, I noticed my knee was stinging quite a bit. When I looked down, I saw the reason why. I was sporting a lovely new "strawberry" on my right knee, compliments of a friend. I also had an aching jaw, compliments from another friend on the same evening.
Now before you think I hang out with some really tough friends, or think I've been in some sort of street brawl, let me say - these were all a result of a recent Krav training workout. These wounds were truly from friends and I actually treasure them....the wounds and the friends.
Let me explain. If you have read any of my earlier blogs about Krav, you might remember that one important aspect of these workouts is having someone who will push me to my limit. It's important in these self-defense workouts to test myself occasionally not in hopes that I will ever have to use these skills, but in hopes that I WON'T! During this week's particular workout, I was clipped in the jaw by one of my friends and then in a practice drill with his daughter, I rubbed my knee raw. (By the way, I wouldn't ever really attack either of these people, not only because they are my friends but also because they pack a pretty mean punch!)
These new "trophies" , as my son refers to them, are evidence that not only can my friends be counted on, they love me as well. To begin with, both somewhat "pulled" their punches. They did not come at me full force. They also gave me chances to "hit" back and didn't take offense at my puny efforts. And of course, all this got me to thinking about a principal from Proverbs that says "Faithful are the wounds of a friend...." (Prov. 27:6)
I am so thankful for these friends...not only in self-defense but in spiritual growth as well. I realize I do have friends who will lovingly "push" me to my limits. Sometimes they even do what to some might seem like striking out, but in fact they are only helping to strengthen me in areas of weakness. They never lash out at me full force, they "pull" their punches keeping in mind what I can stand, always checking after the session to make sure I'm not hurt too much.
I need friends like this; we all do. I know I need people who, when they see me faultering, will take me aside and give me a "punch" back into reality. They aren't doing it just to see me stagger backwards, they do it to help me correct something that may be causing harm or to strengthen me in areas I am weak. I think the grown-up word for all of this is "accountability". No matter what we call it, we need it. I don't want to be surrounded just by those who tell me good things, (although I do really like and need to hear occasionally what I do well!) I also want to have people around me who challenge me to be more than I am. I want to have friends who will occasionally hit me with the truth...all the while checking to make sure I'm okay. And the truth is, I know if I should ever be in danger, these friends are the same ones who would join in the fight with me - physically or spiritually.
Yep, faithful are the wounds of a friend. Good news like that makes me want to look at my bruises and smile.