Sunday, October 28, 2012

Friends?


Many times lately, I have been reminded by the most trivial events just how rare yet important it is to have real friends. We often call people “a friend” when a more correct term would be “acquaintance”. Perhaps the word friend is used too loosely in our social media society. I hear it tossed around way too much and to some that seems petty to point out but when you are fortunate enough to have one or more true friends, you likely understand how essential it is to save the title for those deserving of it! So, what is the meaning of the word that we so carelessly toss around?

Per Merriam-Webster, a “friend” can have several meanings. In fact, if you read the definition, it does make the word less significant to those who are most important to us. Here are the top 2 meanings:

1. a : one attached to another by affection or esteem

    b : acquaintance

2  a : one that is not hostile

    b : one that is of the same nation, party, or group

Really? “One that is not hostile”?!? As long as we are not hostile, we are friends? Since I can’t argue with a dictionary, I thought I’d try and find another word that might be more appropriate than friend to describe a few special people in my life. I had no luck. Maybe you can suggest something! Since I failed, I decided that instead, I should use words to describe my opinion of a friend. Those words would include honest, loving, compassionate, caring, thoughtful, dependable and trustworthy. The last three are most important to me. Since God says Love is most important to him, you would think it might be to me. Nope. I guess I figured that if a person really is thoughtful, dependable and trustworthy to me, they would have to love me and I would have to love them. Perhaps that’s na├»ve but it’s still my belief.

Now, after all that insight, here’s where I was going. If you are lucky enough to have one or more true friends in your life as I do, know it! Although I’ve often heard that a real friend will be there when you need them the most, I didn’t completely get that until I realized that despite popular belief, its actually not the big events of life that trigger the most need. It’s during those quiet yet tough times when most people around wouldn’t see. That’s when true friends reveal themselves. It’s in those moments that a true friend goes beyond what is expected and notices when you are having a tough time. Here is what I have learned and what I am striving to remember: Do not take advantage of a friend. Make effort to be present and available in their lives when they need you. A true friend will return the favor when the roles are reversed. Most important, don’t take them for granted. Show your appreciation for their existence in your life. God placed certain people in our lives and we should be thankful that he cared enough to do so!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Can Only Imagine

Over the past few weeks, I have wanted to write but after recently losing a friend, my mind would always succumb to sad thoughts and depressing topics that I did not want to share.


This morning as I was pulling out of my driveway to take the kids to school, we were noticing how beautiful the sunrise was. We often have picture worthy sunrises here on the coast of NC but today’s was especially gorgeous. We decided to drive the 2 miles out of our way to the water so we could see it more clearly. After all, God had really outdone himself today and it wouldn’t be right of us to not fully enjoy his masterpiece! There were stunning shades of pink, lavender and orange outlining particularly bright white clouds. The sun’s rays were unmistakable shining through the tops of the trees as it peaked over the horizon. It was simply remarkable to see.

On the drive to school, I thought about my friend and the song that was played at his funeral, “I Can Only Imagine”. My children and I began talking about how awesome it must be for him to be seeing that sunrise from another viewpoint. We talked about how he must be so happy to be able to spend mornings with his mom and other family members or friends that went on before him. As they moved on to another topic, I continued to think in silence. As we rode, another song came on the radio and its words really made me think. “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” by Chris Tomlin. Before his death, my friend had endured much physical and emotional suffering, bound by his illness. He had shared with me his feelings regarding his sickness and also death. He was tired and so was his body. Chis sings “My chains are gone. I've been set free. My God, my Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns. Unending love, Amazing grace.”

What an amazing thought! He is truly free from all pain is now experiencing a joy like none of us can even begin to imagine. Through tears, I smiled.