Thursday, January 26, 2012

Redefining Friendship / John 13:34-35

We are not alone.

Not only do we have Jesus readily available to us throughout each and every moment of our life, ready and able to assist us with our every need and struggle; but we are also blessed in this world with another amazing thing: community.

Ever since high school my sense and definition of “community” has been shifting continuously.

It first shifted when I graduated high school and said good-bye to that closer-than-close-spend-every-waking-moment-together period of friendship.

You know, where you walk to the movies before you can drive (because walking for four hours is way cooler than having mom drop you off). And then when you can drive, all of you squished into your first clunky car in school parking lot listening to the radio and pretending you can’t hear the warning bells of pending classroom lessons.

College offered new friends and new faces and new challenges; struggling with who I really was as a person made friendships fleeting and shallow.

I gained a few life-long friendships from my college years; but not many.

And, by that time, only three of my high school friends were people I was somewhat consistently in communication with.

Then, after my marriage, my idea of community shifted yet again.

My best friend became my husband and looking for social outlets became a team effort.

We gained friends also in long-term relationships, as married couples often do. 

However, I think my internal understanding of community shifted the most dramatically after I had my son.

I had felt like I lost my whole community.

Being a young mother meant that I had no time for friendships (or what I defined friendship as). I was too tired.

I also struggled with the fact that many of my friends were still single and most without children.

I didn’t have the luxury of going out on a random Tuesday or really doing much of anything without at least a week’s notice (nor the energy).

I made a decision to cling to my husband and my son and be their community first and foremost.

I still have my amazing friends that I am so lucky and blessed with from many different time periods in my life.

I merely reoriented and redefined my expectations of both myself and of them.

Asking God to be the leader of my friendships has been an incredible journey.

Earlier established friendships have become deeper and more meaningful.

I have also been blessed to develop many new incredible friendships.

I have learned that a not-immediately-returned-text is a merely a reflection of the busy lifestyle that we all live; and not a reflection of the success of the friendship.

And, most importantly of all, I have learned that God has created a beautiful masterpiece in my life that will bring about friendships and experiences with the people around me to glorify Him (which is the greatest beauty of all).

The very best part? I do not have to do a darn thing.

This past Monday morning was more chaotic than usual.

Mentally bombarded with never-ending “to-dos” amidst my early morning routine my husband called me into our son’s room to point out a leak in the ceiling and roof.

Great. Just great.

Maybe I am getting better at this not-freaking-out thing, or maybe I am just exhausted, but I simply lifted it up to the Lord, scooped up my son and headed out the door.

That next day I got a call at work from a professional colleague from another business who wanted to go to coffee with me (also a young working mother of two kids).

Though the meeting was mostly platonic and business, I couldn’t help but answer her “How are you?” with the tale of the hole in my toddler’s ceiling to start off my week.

She started laughing and said the most bewildering thing: “Me too!”

She continued nodding, “The exact same thing! My son’s ceiling has a huge hole in it right now! Isn’t this rain insane?”

I was amazed. I felt a sense of peace knowing that someone out there was going through the same thing I was.

I don’t relish in the fact that she is also having a crazy week complete with gaping holes in her ceiling; but I do cherish the fact that God promises that I am not alone.

That we all go through this stuff and that He will continue to provide me with all the community I need; through Him and through His children.

I am confident that my idea of community will continue to stretch and grow and morph just like many of my ideas as I grow deeper in my walk with the Lord.

But, is it not wonderful to delight in in the fact that I always have a friend in Jesus?

And as long as my idea of community centers around Christ (and my family second), I am sure to be on the right track.

He is all the friend I need. 

No offense to my dear human friends.

John 13:34-35
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."

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