One of the most difficult things about moving (for me, at least) is keeping up with friends left behind and building new relationships. Thanks to technology like Skype and Facebook, staying in touch is a lot easier than the old days of handwriting letters (although, I still love sending and receiving snail mail!) and sending rolls of film away for processing.
As great as technology is, there’s something truly special about spending time with someone one-on-one that breaks down superficial walls, builds trust, and creates an atmosphere of confidence where you are assured that the thoughts you share will be kept secure. That’s a much different level of relationship than most of our bantering on Facebook; wouldn’t you agree?
I came across a familiar passage in John 15 this week, and a verse caught my eye in a different translation. The Contemporary English Version (CEV) records verses 13-15 as: “The greatest way to show love for friends is to die for them. And you are my friends, if you obey me. Servants don’t know what their master is doing, and so I don’t speak to you as my servants. I speak to you as my friends, and I have told you everything that my Father has told me.”
I love the way the Living Bible (TLB) uses the verb “confide in” instead of “speak to.” It implies a more intimate friendship, the unfiltered kind where you can share your most important, deeply personal thoughts. Jesus is telling his disciples that they are not just his students or trainees, but they are his confidantes.
We all need that level of openness and accountability with someone – to know that we can let down our guard and still be loved unconditionally, yet be challenged to grow in our faith-walk. Jesus invited his disciples into that innermost circle. May we, too, desire that level of closeness with our savior.
Have you ever been so glad to see a friend that your bear hug nearly knocked them off-balance? I believe that’s how Jesus greets us daily.
Alas, we meet again. You know I still don’t like you, but we seem to be getting better at maintaining a tolerable coexistence. I hope you don’t take my disdain personally. I wrote you a letter last year about how I was going to change my mindset concerning you, and I think I did. In fact, when you visited last year, I was putting the finishing touches on my dissertation and preparing to defend it, so that was good. A lot of changes took place last year — so much so that I’m even greeting you from a different time zone this year!
Honestly, I don’t have anything particularly sassy, smart-alecky, or gripey to say to you this year. I suppose this must be what healing looks like. I still don’t look forward to the 23rd, which happens to fall on a Friday this year. I’ll have a class to teach that afternoon, so staying under the covers and pretending not to be a grownup isn’t a valid option. I still have to get the kids to school and then get to school, myself. It’s going to be hard, though. It always is.
Would you believe this is the first Christmas since I lost Nathan that I didn’t cry at all that day? I almost lost it on stage during the Christmas Eve service as we sang Silent Night, though. Normally, I can’t really see the congregation because of the lighting, but they dimmed the lights for the candlelight portion, and I looked over to where the boys were seated. I saw my five boys — thankfully, not setting the pew ablaze — and then my eyes lingered a bit longer on my two nephew-sons. In that moment, I saw a glimpse of Nathan’s facial features lit up in both of them; my eyes got watery and a lump rose in my throat, and I couldn’t sing a couple of lines. I was thinking about singing with him in Glory one day, seeing his face lit up with the Light that lacks shadows, and I felt such a pull on my heart to want to be with him.
Instead of dreading you this year like I have done in the past, I’m going to choose to be thankful for you. Seeing you again is a reminder that my time on earth isn’t yet complete. There’s still work to be finished here, and for reasons often unbeknownst to me, the Lord has designated a few particular things for my doing. So, January, I offer you a truce. Perhaps by the time you roll around again, we might even be friends.
Proverbs 19:19 talks about letting people avoid consequences time & time again. What should that teach us as parents? Supervisors? Friends?
Tomorrow is the best day of the week! Who are you inviting to join you at church?
Sometimes I feel unappreciated, & then I remember that Jesus was scoffed at by his own friends & neighbors. My day isn’t so bad, after all.
Mourning isn’t limited to death; we mourn when friends move away, jobs change, etc. Don’t think that God only cares about the “big” losses.
A nonet style poem (descending by syllable) about a woman wanting her potential to be unveiled:
I could be your right hand, partner, friend.
My aspirations, meshed with yours.
I could be your dream come true.
I could be your fan club.
(I am already.)
I could be … yours.
I could be.