Friday, September 10, 2010

A New Friend

You know, God never ceases to amaze me.  The truth is, I don't think there is anything that I've really prayed for that he hasn't delivered on.  I mean reasonable things of course.  He was wise to ignore me that time I prayed for triplets.  He obviously knows I have limits.

 I once made the mistake of praying for patience and  trust me on this- unless you are truly and honestly prepared to learn patience- don't pray for it!  Because you will endure successive hurdles, things that make you want to beat your head onto the cement until your brain starts to ooze out of the cracks, things that will force you into a corner until you learn the patience you asked for. When I prayed for patience, I thought I'd learn to be more patient while I stood in line at the supermarket.  That's the kind of patience I was talking about.  But apparently I wasn't specific enough so he gave me a husband with ADD.  Then he gave me one willful, bull-headed child succeeded by an autistic child.  I learned patience all right.  I also learned to be less broad when I pray.  Lessons learned.

Not too long ago, I prayed that I might be able to understand (and love) someone who was not nice to me.  There was a woman who I just didn't mesh with, someone who would bring out an ugly part of me.  She could be unkind and difficult and I struggled with liking her.  In the past I would have written her off, reasoning that I didn't need that kind of grief in my life and that it was a waste of my time but now I know better.  And so one day, I prayed that I might understand her.  That I might be able to see her in a loving way and let me just tell you that at the time, the very idea of that seemed impossible.  How could I love someone who literally made my blood pressure rise with the simple sight of her?  How would I ever be able to tolerate much less "love" this person?

But like I said, it's true what they say,"Be careful what you ask for." Now, I had known this person for nearly 7 years and we'd never really been friends.  Acquaintances, perhaps.  We had not had occasion to really get to know each other, mainly because our interactions had been so ugly that I avoided her.  But then one day, a conversation.  That was followed by another conversation that left me staring at her as she walked away and I thought "hmmm" as I rubbed my chin in thoughtful surprise.  After that we had breakfast together and I found that she had somehow softened. Or was it I who had softened?  Was she different? Or was I seeing her different? Either way, things were just...different.  We spent some more time together after that and each time I liked her more and more. 

Today I called her for no reason at all and I spoke to her like I would a great friend and when I hung up the phone it struck me that I wasn't tolerating her or enduring her anymore, I actually LIKE her.  I had by myself made the effort to call her because I had something funny to say and she was the first person that came to mind.  "Isn't that something?" I thought, after hanging up the phone.  "How did that happen?"  I do tend to believe in God and in prayer.  I do not presume to know how it works or think that it works all of the time and honestly, I don't even know if it worked this time.  I could say that it was simply a coincidence.  Or maybe it was maturity rather than prayer that made me give it one more shot but this I know: the prayer gave me courage.  The courage gave me perspective, the perspective gave me opportunity and the opportunity gave me a new friend. How amazing it is that a situation full of ugliness and bitterness and bad thoughts and even a little bit of hatred could without any reason at all turn into beauty and kindness and happy thoughts and even a little bit of love.

Mark 10:27 "Jesus looked at them and said, "with man this is impossible but not with God; with God all things are possible."