Fun with Friends

How exciting it can be to make new friends!  There’s the thrill of new discoveries, shared interested, and feelings of belonging.  Equally joyous is the reconnection of old friends.  It can be so easy to get caught up in new jobs, fresh faces, and different places that we neglect our long-established relationships.  The best friends are understanding of this phenomenon, but are usually quite flexible in handling this dry season.

Do you know what I’m referring to?  Those friends you may not have seen in years, and yet when you spend time with them after this separation, you talk and laugh and get along just as easily as you did all those years ago.  Those are the best kinds of friends.  I’m lucky to have had such an experience as that today.

Many people are really good at socializing.  They make friends everywhere they go.  Most of their friendships are at surface level; there may not be much substance in those relationships, but they do genuinely care about those friends.  I’ll admit that I have quite a few friends who may fit this description.  Whenever I think about their popularity and likability, I wonder if I’m just another surface-level friend with no deeper connection.  As it often turns out, many of my fears have no foundation.

I was nervous about meeting an old friend, with whom I haven’t really spent time for about three years.  I wasn’t apprehensive about the fact that communication might be awkward.  Maybe I should have given this a little more thought; I didn’t even think about the sorts of questions I might ask him.  Nor was I afraid that his character might have changed since the last time we met, though I did think about the possibility.  Instead, I was worried that although he seemed genuinely interested in spending time with me, I would not compare to the vast number of other friends he undoubtedly has.  I was viewing our relationship as a surface-level friendship and that only.  However, after spending the afternoon sharing stories and laughing and getting into adventures, I realized that we had more depth than I had previously thought.  He made me feel like a special friend in his life, not just one among the many masses.

How often do we worry about concerns that have no basis?  I am just so thankful for these carefree moments with friends, new and old.  I am grateful that there are people who can renew my hope.  Of course, it is often helpful to consider both good and bad alternatives.  However, when it’s possible, I try to increase the positivity in this world.  Don’t ever underestimate the value of a simple word of appreciation and encouragement!

A New Literary Venture

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die…

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance…

a time to search and a time to give up…

a time to be silent and a time to speak…

a time for war and a time for peace…

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

DSCI0178

The above is an excerpt from Ecclesiastes 3, an oft-quoted scripture at both tearful and happy occasions.  From these words many people, including myself, draw special meaning.  Whether you are a Christian who believes these musings are God-breathed or a scholar who views them as a poetic piece of literature, there seems to be something thought-provoking, maybe even inspiring, about this passage.  My commentary on this once centered around how it proved that there was a reason for everything.  We just needed to trust God that He had it all figured out.  Reading it now, I see that there is much more to it.

The beauty of well-written literature I have found is that there is room for personal interpretation.  Just as there are seasons for every activity under heaven, so are there seasons in my life that impact the meaning I pull from scripture.  I often like to skip over the bad promises and emphasize the pleasant.  Don’t we all?  Particularly if we are trying to be the image of positivity.  We seek out the good and minimize the bad.  But as it turns out, there is also value in those “bad” experiences, as we label them.  I’m working on changing the label-maker in my mind.  Sure there are plenty of situations that aren’t ideal, but what can I really do about it?  I may not be able to change the situation, but I can certainly change my view of it and my reaction to it.  And that is empowering.

The problem, though, lies in the fact that our perspective – no matter how informed, considerate, cultured, or multi-faceted – can never give us a crystal clear understanding of everything at work in a situation.  In 1st Corinthians 13:12, scripture says “All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me completely.”  What a wonderful promise that is.

All my life I have striven to understand the hows, the whys, and the whats; I pride myself in being able to provide thoughtful insights to others and extend bridges of communication and understanding.  In short, I strive for perspicacity.  The frustrating part is that I can’t always know; I can’t always understand; I can’t always see things clearly.  I pray for clarity and discernment constantly.  I certainly think that I move towards greater understanding each day of my life, but I also recognize that my perspective still falls short.  And with this thought, I must have the serenity to accept it.  Far different from settling, having serenity about a situation entails being at peace with it.  While I live out perspicacity to the best of my ability throughout life, and even when I come to enjoy complete understanding as from God’s perspective, I now pray that I will always be serene with what knowledge I am given.  Vast knowledge is a high responsibility and can be a very unsettling thing…

Lord, may every season and activity in this life and in this world rest well with my soul – especially the moments of death, mourning, weeping, and failure.  Help me to always respond with Serene Perspicacity.