Proverbs 18:24

After dinner last night, one of my dearest friends was helping me make cupcakes. She offered some new techniques, and after my initial resistance, I acquiesced and let her take the lead. The mood was light, and the kids were off tearing up the basement, waiting for our call that the cupcakes were done and ready to be devoured.

My friend’s technique was not going quite as she had hoped, and I was teasing her, poking at the frosting and joking as I sprinkled little orange and black waxy tidbits on the tops of the orange cupcakes. It’s a mark of my density that I really didn’t understand my friend was getting more and more frustrated that her method wasn’t going well. Finally, she snapped at me that I being awfully critical.

Wha…? Huh? Wow. Immediately embarrassed and self-conscious, I apologized and told her I was joking and trying to be funny- it’s something I’ve seen her do a million times. Obviously my comedic timing is more than a little skewed, if I had hurt my friend.

Here’s where she was different: She proceeded to explain why she felt the way she did. She took the time and care to show me, from her point of view, how tearing me up for things she sees me do with great ease is not the same as my joking with her about things with which she struggles. She said- and these are her words- a person as talented as I am cannot harass people the same way as people who are inept can. I never really thought of it that way, but I can see her point.

Seems like a no-brainer, right? Yeah, like I said, my density knows no bounds. My track record with friends is not so hot. Surly I have done this in the past to others I have cared about- certainly I have to my own husband, who is far more sensitive to subtlety than I. It makes me wonder how many times I have trampled rough-shod over people I love. Clearly, there are areas where I am fantastically un-talented.

The ironic thing is, cracking jokes and playing light is really not my strong suit. This friend happens to be a superstar at witty biting sarcasm and making people laugh. I was trying to be like her, as she was trying to teach me something, and in doing so, I hurt her feelings.

It turns out she taught me something much more important than a new way to frost cupcakes. Among other things, she taught me that she loves me enough to call me to the mat. That she loves me enough to be frank and honest with me even if it’s uncomfortable for us both. And she taught me that we can have discussions like that and then pick up the threads of our friendship and carry on with laughter and grace.

I’ll never frost a cupcake again without thinking of her with gratitude.

9 thoughts on “Proverbs 18:24

  1. I will second the fact that you are not so good at sarcasm, and that sarcasm is hard to master. There are a lot of people who say sarcasm is a mask for anger, but if you do it right, all it becomes is a light hearted way to make someone see the laughter in all there is. More power to you for seeing your “fault” and fixing it up! It is a lot harder to do, but oh so worth it in the long run!

  2. What wonderful friends you *both* are. It takes both sides to resolve an issue like this with such love and respect.

    It is often hard to recognize when one is ‘wrong.’ Tracy, you have shown not only how to notice when one is in the wrong but also how to make it right – and how to do so with grace and forgiveness.

    Thank you for sharing this. There is much for me to consider about my own relationships with my friends and unintentional slights that might have occurred.

  3. Yes, I agree, it takes a true friend to say when she has been offended, and a true friend to listen, apologize, and understand her point of view.

    My track record isn’t so hot either. Thanks for sharing, you and “friend” are amazing.

  4. Ah, now the demanding phone call makes sense…..
    In hindsight perhaps your friend feels a little sheepish for responding about something as silly as cupcakes. Maybe it’s her own insecurities about lack of talent that did it, just a shot in the dark though.
    I guess God brings us together in our imperfections for a reason…

  5. That, my dear, is a good friend. Keep her around for a while, bribery is even appropriate.

    * love the Back to the Future quote. It is nice to read things from people of the same generation, we use the same lingo. In heaven I won’t know how to talk to Moses because he won’t get my 20th century references.

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