Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wherein I Use A Lot Of Allegory

I've made a few new friends lately.  I'm so grateful for that. Honestly, I've been praying for that for a while.  Not that I don't love my current friends, I have a handful that I adore.  There are also a few people that I know as acquaintances that I really like too.  But...

...there are a few that I am distancing myself from.

I think, that when it comes to friends, you have to consider how you feel after a visit with them.  Do you feel loved, accepted, comforted, understood?  Do they make you laugh and let loose?  Or do they make you feel sad, depressed and exhausted? Do they make you feel rejected and unheard and unimportant? Is the relationship complicated and high maintenance?  Do they meet you in the phase of your life?

I've had to answer those questions recently only because I feel like I deserve people in my life who love me,  who know who I am and encourage and challenge and inspire me.  People who hug me when we part and who listen and don't appease me for the sake of superficiality. People who are going in the same direction.

The wisdom that age brings is a double edged sword.  One one hand, there comes a peace with knowing who you are and what is good for you.  On the other hand, you suddenly have an uncanny ability to sniff out the bullshit around you.  In this case, I've come to realize that many people who I count as friends, aren't really my friends at all.

Friendships often have a shelf life.  And every once in a while we have to comb through our relationship cupboards and check for expiration dates.  Some, like leftovers in the fridge, are rotting because they've been long forgotten.  Others are still good but we have yet to incorporate them.  Some, like that bag of delicious salty chips, seem wonderful but are actually terrible for us.  It's time to clean house and carefully examine every person in my relationship pantry and make sure that they are contributing positively to my life.

As for my new friendships- it's a funny thing really.  One new friend is someone who has been around me for a while but I never really recognized as good friend potential.  I always like her, I just never cultivated that relationship for whatever reason.  I like her a lot.  She's authentic and caring.  She takes the extra step to be a great friend and love me.  Even better, she's willing to humble herself and ask for help when she needs it and lets me love her in return. Those are fertile grounds for a lasting friendship.  How did I miss that for so long?

Another friend is someone who I just met a few months ago.  We share a heart for God and people.  It's scary how much we are alike.  She is someone who is going to do amazing things with her life, I can feel it.  There's no way that someone that passionate will go idle and that is so inspiring.  She lives her life in a way where she focuses a lot of energy on service and that is right up my alley.  I could probably call her and be all, "lets go to Uganda next month" and instead of calling me crazy she'd be like, "I bet I could sell my car for airfare."  When I told her of my recent plans for my kids to raise money for Somalia she was immediately excited and asked if her nieces could join in too.  When I told her I want to go on a mission in Mexico in the winter she asked if we could wait until the spring so she could come too.  She's the kind of person you want standing beside you while you're being strip searched in a foreign land. :)

I know that everyone who has come into my life has been there for a reason.  Even those friendships that have run their course have been a blessing and I'm grateful for them.  They met me where I was and sustained me.  Some friendships are like a chrysalis.  They protect us as we change from phase to phase in our lives and as we transform, we often leave them behind.  It doesn't mean they weren't valuable or necessary, only that we've outgrown them.

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