Thursday 6 January 2011

Friendships: Avoiding the Ones That Hurt, Finding the Ones That Heal by Jeff Wickwire

Published by Chosen Books A division of Baker Publishing Group.

Friendships: Fleeting or long-lasting, helpful or harmful, we all have our experiences with them. Jeff Wickwire delves into the very core of the subject and explains why we find these relationships so difficult at times and most importantly, why we need to change the way we think about friendships in order to build them to last.

I have to admit, when I turned to the first page and saw a bible quote, quickly followed by the realization that the author of the book I was about to delve into was a pastor, I gulped. The title of this book had really grabbed my attention but I hadn't realized it was going to be a religious read. I tend to shy away from such works, but having had my own friendship problems in abundance recently, I really wanted to learn more. I can't begin to tell you how glad I am that I chose to read it through to completion.

It isn't difficult to like this book. The author, Jeff Wickwire makes it incredibly simple with his obviously in-depth research, his ease with explanations, and his straight-forward manner in which he openly speaks of Christians in a way I am not familiar with. Many Christian books I read have a tendency to display preachy and holier-than-thou attitudes and it's refreshing to see Jeff Wickwire not only shy away from such behaviour but also share with the reader that he himself has been at the receiving end of it, at times. I think if I had bumped into more Christians like Jeff Wickwire back when I was a child, I might not have been so fast to walk - well, run! - away from organized religion.

I can't say I agree with everything in this book but then, that is why I enjoy reading so much, and from such a diverse range of subjects. The freedom to read anything we choose and then accept/reject material accordingly. What I did greatly enjoy though, is the author sharing his opinion about friendship, not only through the bible, but in a way that really stopped me in my tracks and gave me much food for thought. It's little wonder that friendships are so different now with the many mediums available for meeting new people. Friends seem to come and go so quickly. It's easy to think of the earth a giant changing room in which we try on new friends constantly and just as quickly as we choose them, we discard them - or are discarded - for reasons that once upon a time would been worked through. Now with today's fast paced lifestyle, it's just easier to find a new friend that seems like a better fit. It's little wonder that compassion in humanity seems to be dwindling steadily. Jeff Wickwire phrases it a great deal better than I did and delves still deeper into why friendships have changed so drastically over the decades. It was one of those 'Doh!' moments for me because I was truly shocked that I hadn't given it any thought until now.

This book though, promises hope to those who are willing and able to look deep inside themselves, realize they want more from the friendships they have, and more importantly, realize they want to offer more of themselves to their friends. This book gave me a new outlook regarding how I interact with people and I am so looking forward to putting all my new knowledge into practice as I nurture the friendships in my own life.

I may have to check out other books by this author. Though I was hesitant at first, I really love his writing style which is warm and welcoming, while allowing his obvious love of scripture to shine through, and I still giggle at the visual that came to mind when reading the section 'A friend-shaped hole in every soul'.

I enjoyed reading this!

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