Where do REAL FRIENDS come from you ask? I figured this out when I went grocery shopping with my mom as a child. When you entered and exited the grocery as a kid, there are three things that always excited you. The automatic doors, the toy, prize, and candy machines, and a chance to ride in the buggies (shopping carts).
Second only to riding the shopping carts, were those big pretty toy and candy machine right at the exit of the store. The display windows advertised everything from super balls,key chains, stickers, to tattoos. The candy bubble gum, m&ms, and peanut machines always made good on their promises and have been excused from this conversation. If you put your money in a gum ball machine, you pretty much got what you paid for, other than choosing the color. I want to talk about the toy prize vending machines because this is where I think real friends come from.
We put our three quarters in the vending machine slots and turn the big silver crank. Our excitement and expectation rises as we hear the shuffling sound and movement of the prize housed in that clear plastic dome. We turn the knob clockwise until it will go no further. We hear something drop and bang against the silver flap that catches and releases our prize. With a natural motion, we take one hand to lift the silver flap and catch our prize with the other hand.
Before we inserted our coins, we picked and pointed to the prize we wanted in our mind. Most times, what we received was not the prize, the sticker, or the tattoo that we wanted.
In life, the friends that we mentally pick through the display glass of our minds, are not those that fall out the toy prize vending machine of life. It seems to me that there is a vast difference sometimes with what we look for, and what friends actually come out looking like.
We want them single but they end up married. We want them good looking, but they come out overweight and love to eat. We want them beautiful but they come out with flaws. We want them to live forever but they die.
Our response reminds me of a Chris Tucker movie entitled, “Rush Hour.” In one of the scenes, As the security guard approaches the tow truck that Chris is riding in, he says, “Would you look at this (blank) right here?” It echoes the sentiment of our feelings when the prize, our friends, come out the vending machine and into our lives.
If you notice, just like the crappy tattoo, or sticker, we head to the car with it anyway. Especially when somebody else’s three quarters paid for it. We learn to work with what ever we get.
Even though it seems like we have about as much control in picking our friends as verbally telling that coin machine which one you want, we must understand there is already chosen and sitting in the slot, a prize dome waiting for the lucky three coin cranker.
If by chance we could choose what our friends would look and act like, I think we would all be disappointed. Here is my reason, “Perfect friends disappoint.” Who wants a FREIND who is perfect and makes no mistakes? Who want a friend rich from birth? Who wants a friend who knows everything and has been everywhere already? Who wants a friend who’s body and looks are flawless? Instead, Give me the friend who has and continues to make a few mistakes, can laugh at our stupidity, and struggles from time to time with finances and relationships. Give me the friend with flaws. The one who eats too much of all the wrong stuff every now and then. Give me the friend who doesn’t know it all, and needs someone to talk to from time to time. I recognize, a perfect friend would have no need for a friend with flaws like me.
I thank God for the friends that have fallen out of that vending machine in the Wise Way Grocery Store in the sky, for that is actually where real friends come from. You asked and I told you.