Hey, I know you!” I exclaimed the first time I saw Emma. We’d bumped into each other while attending the same event.
“Yeah. I think I’ve seen you around also,” she replied.
That chance meeting was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
For my 48th birthday, Emma gave me a potted mini-orchid. I immediately placed it on my kitchen window sill. Over time, my orchid’s petals slowly wilted.
Orchids, though hardy, require specific care: sunlight, attention, proper humidity and the right measure of water. On Sunday mornings, I whispered sweet nothings over my orchid. Most of the days, I let her be.
Eighteen months passed before my orchid re-blossomed. When it did, it was fuller and more gorgeous than before. I remember taking a pic of my orchid when it reached full bloom. I had to show Emma.
“This is just like our friendship which continues to blossom,” I texted. Emma, touched by seeing the beauty of the orchid, agreed.
Our friendship blossomed just as well as that mini-orchid had.
An Unlikely Bond
I met Emma shortly after moving to California. I never thought I could have a friendship as deep as the ones I had when I lived on the East Coast.
Moving tends to do that to you.
You realize how good your former friendships were. You wonder if you’ll ever find similar ones.
Emma’s sense of humor and willingness to reach out to others drew me in. As we got to know one another, we realized we had lots in common: both of us were Black women. Both of us were mothers. We’d both been married for years. We loved to run.
But a huge difference exists between us still: Emma is Muslim and I am Christian.
At first, this revelation surprised me because our camaraderie was so vibrant. I’d never witnessed friendships between Muslim and Christian women. It didn’t seem like a viable possibility in Christian circles.
While I wasn’t against having a Muslim friend, I just hadn’t actively sought one out.
On Common Ground
Befriending Emma was like walking on new ground. What intrigued me most was that we had similar moral values, even though our religious foundations were so different.
Emma and I have laughed deeply. We’ve cried. We’ve cared for each other’s children. We’ve fellowshipped over meals.
On our long runs, we’ve shared our frustrations about life and raising kids. We’ve discussed our unfulfilled dreams and career aspirations. I’ve prayed for her regarding different situations and Emma understands my faith.
With Emma, I don’t have to proselytize because my life is evidence of God in me.
Emma’s a dream-enabler. No one has encouraged me like she has. She’s even taught me how to empower others.
We’ve expressed different views on many issues without allowing our friendship to disintegrate. I’ve acquired a better understanding of Muslim woman today.
Christians can have meaningful relationships with those of other faiths. From Jesus, I’ve learned that the only true way to make a difference in someone’s life is through meaningful interaction.
It was Christ who connected with a person’s feelings. In this way, I strive to be Christlike.
The orchid which sits on my window-sill won’t grow without sunlight, water, or attention. True friendships are no different; they can’t thrive without care.
It’s the same with Emma, the full-bloom of our friendship requires a care and love.#Friendships can't blossom without true #Intentionality. Click To Tweet
Nylse Esahc is a Christian wife and a mother of four who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Originally from the Bahamas, she lived in New York prior to relocating to the West Coast. She is a Christian Blogger who writes to encourage others from a Godly perspective at lifenotesencouragement.com. She recently published her first book: My Best Marriage Advice: How To Thrive In Your Marriage. Nylse never turns down the opportunity for conversation over a hot cup of tea.