Around ten years ago, someone said to me, “There are many people who love you, and many people that you love. But you have few friends.” I knew that was true then, and know it to be true even now.
I once had close friendships that I deeply treasured and valued. I had people in my life with whom I looked forward to spending time. I enjoyed hanging out with them on long weekends and doing whatever seemed good to do. We took short trips together. We talked endlessly about subjects both deep and shallow. We laughed (didn’t cry much, but let’s save that for a future blog post) and never tried to put ourselves in a position of being better, or “higher”, than the other. We engaged our hearts, enjoyed each other’s presence and personalities, and provided a safe place of refuge for one another in difficult times.
That part of my life was largely lost (perhaps stolen is a better word) almost twenty years ago. It is a loss that I have felt and tried endlessly to get back ever since. It is a loss which I am finally grieving through in a healthy way, and I believe that now is the season to see that restored. The source of that loss is layered. It’s not simple, as we often try and make the complicated stories of our lives. It transpired through a series of events that introduced death into my soul, and another, more subtle and insidious series of moments and events over many years, that worked that death into the flesh of my soul like some sick marinade. In many ways, it led to the pre-mature death of my heart and terrible emotional loss.
But, “the loss” is not what I intend to glorify or highlight through these writings. “The loss” is merely a catalyst toward discovering who I am, and how a perfect God can love an imperfect me. And then, how I can share that redemptive love with everyone who enters my life, whether we know one another peripherally or intimately.
This is not a blog about friendship, per se. This blog is really about sharing my life and my stories. It is also about a personal God and His complicated relationship with me (insert smiley face here). It is about the twisty and windy paths He walked / walks me through in life to continually bring me toward the end goal of one thing: unencumbered, open, honest friendship with Him.
It is the kind of friendship where we are able to talk without me jumping through religious hoops and performing “spiritual acts” in order to approach Him “in just the right way”; the kind of friendship where He can love and appreciate me, even when I am still broken and hurting. It is a friendship where He can tell me the truth about myself by holding up a mirror, and then carefully help me to confront what I see in that mirror in order to find redemption and restoration. It is the kind of friendship where He can help me wrestle through the unjust events that transpired in my life and find the thread of hope that leads to something sorely missing in this broken world…LIFE.
You will, I hope, forgive me as I have the habit of talking about specific events, and then find myself floating up into the clouds to express the “higher ideas” or the “bigger picture” that surrounds them. That is simply who I am. You’ll get used to it.
Back To Friendships
Today, there are people in my life (both distant and near) with whom I am friends. We know each other. We like each other. But, my desire is to move deeper into those relationships. The only way I know how is to open up again at a new level and share. To me, there is nothing in life quite as frightening as that. But, I know the pay-off is great.
Sometime back I was watching a popular television comedy. The closing scene of one episode touched me so deeply that I kept rewinding it and watching it over. About two weeks ago, I stumbled on that exact same scene on You Tube. I posted the scene below.
The background of the episode, in short, is this: A married couple named Carla and Turk, a nurse and a surgeon, have been trying for a year to have a baby. The entire TV season followed them through their story arc as they tried to conceive, along the way experiencing hope and crushed hope. They searched out every reason why they were not able to conceive, even alternately blaming each other with being physically incapable of doing so.
One day, Carla took a home pregnancy test and the result turned up negative again. A few moments later, Turk looked into the trash can and saw that it had turned positive (they had not waited long enough for this particular test). In his excitement, he told his best friend JD. So, Turk and J.D. then told all of their friends and planned to gather them all together in front of the hospital where they worked. They would, as a group, announce to Carla that she was pregnant.
En route to the gathering, Carla tells Turk that when the day comes that she IS pregnant, her greatest desire will be to experience the joy of telling her friends one at a time, and savoring their individual reactions of joy. Turk sends an emergency “cancel the gathering” text to all the friends waiting to greet Carla. The remainder of the episode is of Turk and his friend J.D. trying to keep the news that her friends all know she is pregnant from Carla, while getting her to take another test so she can have what she wants the most…to tell them all individually.
The scene I posted below picks up from there. I post this because the tone that the writers, the actors, and the editors hit with this small scene perfectly spoke to a craving in my heart. It illustrated so simply the incredible beauty that comes from genuine friendships that pass through the fires of this world. It illustrates the joy true friends share with one another. Friends love each other, hurt each other, support each other, and fail each other. But, those rare friendships that are able to see past everything and continue on together are priceless. It eases the inevitable pain we will experience in life and doubly enriches the joys we are able to share with them.
Redemption and restoration in the real world will be key themes in this blog. Friendship with God and friendship with man is where I start expressing it.
One thing I know from personal experience…God makes all things new. Enjoy.