I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately. What it means, what it looks like. There are a lot of definitions, and historically it can be a pretty broad term.
You hear a lot of people say that a good friendship (or any relationship) requires that both give 100%, or some say 50/50, or it goes both ways. And in many cases that is true...but I think this is mostly talking more about peer-type friendships or partnerships (like husband and wife).
In Psalm 133 David sings about how wonderful it is when the brethren (the church - the people of God) dwell (settle down and continually remain together) in unity. Then David gives this metaphor - it is like anointing oil poured over Aaron's head, running down his face, down his beard, onto his shoulders and garment. Ok, that might sound super weird to you, but a wise friend/mentor of mine said that "Love flows like anointing oil, from the top down" - and in context of this verse - it makes total sense.
I guess, for a while there, I was feeling like maybe I/we (my hubs and I) missed the mark somehow because we don't have a lot of friendships that might look like the peer friendship that the world tells us about - both give 100%, or 50/50, or it's going both ways. Some people might say that in most of the relationships that we have there could be an imbalance of "power" or "influence"...and all this time I've been feeling like maybe I was doing something wrong...
...like maybe I somehow needed to step it up to be a better friend to the woman who are 10+ years my senior...but the thing is...I don't have the same life experiences and wisdom yet, and I can't offer them what they are able to offer me, because time has not given it to me yet. But I can pour what they have given me down on those walking the steps behind me. Those that I felt like maybe I needed to try not to be so advice-givey (yeah, I know that's not a word), so they feel more "equal" to me somehow. But that's not it either.
Unity in God's people is like anointing oil - love is like anointing oil...it flows down from those in leadership (by way of appointment or age or personality or experience or whatever) to those a step or two behind them, and from them further down. The more you can receive from those who have gone before you, the more you have to pour on those who are coming up behind you.
So while there is great beauty in peer-type friendship and partnership - these aren't necessarily the only types of relationships to pursue or that have value. Actually, if you look at the body of a person there are only two arms or two legs, there are 10 fingers, so maybe you are lucky to have 9 peer-type friendships (just kidding, it's not an exact science, just a metaphor), but the relationships that really show the beauty of unity and life with Christ are often those where one may have little to offer the other, other than gratitude. Or like a child with their parent, they really can never know the sacrifices and love their parent poured into them, and the only way they can return that love is by pouring it back out into their own children.
So just remember this - peers are great and important friendships, but mentors and mentees, those who have gone before you and those who'll need your wisdom as they are coming up the rear, are the relationships that this life is made of...love flows like anointing oil, from the top down...so fill your cup and pour it out.