Free Relationship – True Friendship

knuckles

Tonight I ‘m sitting in Whole Foods (my happy place) and watching the Colorado snow finally fall. Snow, hot coffee, a yummy chocolate chip cookie and 2 hours to spend. . . Yet, I have stared at this screen now for 30 minutes clueless what to write.. Now finally it has hit me after my 12th time checking Facebook. . .we take friendship much too lightly. How’s that for a conversation point?

Let’s just start here. . .Facebook tells me that I have 663 friends.
663 people claim me as their “friend,” and I them!

That statement alone tempts me to go and delete everyone on my list – no offense “friends.” But you have to admit, it is quite ridiculous. I can’t even name 663 people! I’d do good to name 63.

The reality is, there are 663 people in this world on whom I eavesdrop. . .and I might actually have 6 REAL friends.

It’s crazy how our society has unintentionally taught us that relationships can and even should be so shallow. We often live a lie, thinking we have true relationship. Via the internet we see what someone had for dinner, how many awards someone’s kid received or if a person plans to vote for Obama or Santa Clause and we “like” it and feel like we have “connected” with a friend for the day. Does anyone else agree with me on how ridiculous this has become? I know that sounds mean, but think about it. I have an 85 year old Swiss neighbor. She walks past my house every day. We’ve carried on a few conversations over the months. We smile and wave regularly. But I don’t call her my friend. She’s an acquaintance. . .a neighbor. Yet, I’ve had more contact with her than I have 643 of my Facebook “friends” in the last 5 years.

All this being said, it has just made me think about who my REAL friends are.

The last 2 years have been very telling. As a pastor’s wife, everybody wants to know you. Everybody just naturally wants to be your “friend” even if in another circumstance they might not even look your way. In some ways it makes for easy relationships for those introverted people like me. People are kind. They smile a lot at you. They invite you for free dinners and good coffee. You get to hang out with families and see lots of people in their personal, home environments. You get to council and help people through the tough chapters of life. You get to celebrate and cry and pray with so many, causing emotional connections. Moments of life can seem really full and blessed and people have so many good intentions. But that life also has a way of tricking you into believing you have a huge amount of people who love and support you. You think you are equally invested after a while.

But when it comes down to it, one of the biggest lessons I have learned over the years is that I don’t need to be so quick to call someone “friend.” Isn’t that sad? I know it sounds so doom and gloom. But I tell you, it really has been a valuable lesson that was super hard in the learning, but very freeing on the other side.

When the rubber meets the road, many of the people whom I have elevated far above” Facebook friend” status in my life have proven to fall very short. . .and visa versa. When it comes down to it, I now just tend to believe that a person only has the capacity for a very few friends.

And how do I believe this? I believe this because, like you, I’ve been burned. I have a plethora of experiences I could tell you of people who have let me down – people who have walked out of my life unspoken – people who have hurt me and my family who once sat on my sofa and even did something so intimate as seeking the Lord together – people whom I thought I could count on and trust, yet who chose not to fight for relationship, but instead beat me up behind my back when the temperature of life rose a few degrees. You’ve been there in one way or the other. Like me, you’ve even been that person.

But what if we waited much, much longer to call a person “friend?” What if our friendships looked much more like a dating process than an “everyone’s welcome to the party” ride? What if we took our time to truly get to know a person, do life with a person, go through hard times with a person, before we carved out a place in our hearts for them?

Ouch, I can already tell that some of you are wincing at my statements. It doesn’t seem right does it – especially in our world of “friending” everyone who sends a request.

I’m not suggesting we be snobs – quite the opposite. I’m saying freely include everyone, love on people and share your life. But in the midst of it all, guard your heart.

I’m convinced that God will weave people together that are truly meant to possess the gift of our hearts. I think those people are very few and far between. Buddies play together and do life together but maybe true friendships should be elevated to something of a covenant relationship in which all parties are moving with the understanding that we will work hard, care deeply and remain-and that takes lots of time.

That’s why I’m thinking we can and probably even should only have a very few “friends.”

AND that is why all of my other relationships now feel very free.

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Written Words

writeI  had the most enlightening argument/conversation with my 13 year old, Emma, a few days ago.

If you didn’t already know, we homeschool.  We always have.  Some days are fantastic.  Others just suck and that’s the nicest thing I can possibly say about them.  It’s the hardest thing I have ever done and yet I continue to choose to punish myself year after year.  🙂  So many would wonder why Kevin and I have chosen this path.  To be honest, that answer changes all the time.  But regardless the space of life we are living in, homeschool has continued to remain a part of our family and at the end of the days I am so proud of our choices.  We have amazing daughters, a free and flexible life and I have a constant challenge in front of me every day.  Our girls have a solid foundation no matter what space we move into next.

Anyway. . .the conversation with Emma.

I was asking her to have a conversation with me about the Middle Ages.  We were talking about the fall of Rome and how the only city that remained after the fall of the western part of the empire was Constantinople. . .on and on. . .through Justinian came the Byzantine Empire. . .on and on. . .we landed on me asking her what it would be like if Barbarians were to take over the United States. Everything that she once knew to be true and her way of life changed and she had no control of it.  I just wanted her to tell me how that would make her feel.  Easy enough, right?  You would think.

The interesting thing was that for Emma it wasn’t so easy. . .thus a fight between mother/teacher and daughter ensued.  I’m explaining how easy the question is.  She is melting.  I’m trying to get her to talk.  I’m using her younger sisters as examples. . .calling them over to answer the questions and show the ease she should be able to answer with.  She is an 8th grader for goodness sake!  (brilliant parenting/teaching skills, yes?)  She continues to cry and I continue to push.  Tension just rises and rises.

Then all of a sudden God grabbed me in the middle of the drama and simply said, “Amy, she’s just like you!”  “She is your daughter.”

Hhmmmm……humbling mom moment.

You see, I struggle with exactly the same things.

Kevin and I get sideways with each other.  He wants me to “use my words” to share what I’m thinking and feeling so we can work things out. At that moment I can’t even compose a complete thought in my head, much less voice it in his time frame, even though my head and heart are experiencing a lot and inside I’m screaming out.  I’m in a group setting and asked a thoughtful question and I clam up.  My processing is very slow.  I am careful and thoughtful about what I say.  It often takes a lot of time to decide how I feel and how I need to respond when stakes are high.

This is also my Emma.

So what started as a battle finally became a great teaching opportunity.  All the things I have been learning about who I am and how I process and communicate – how I’m wired and how I’m not-what I need to work on and what I need to just accept about myself along the lines of relationship and sharing with others, I got to teach to Emma .  And as I told Kevin that night that I got to teach Emma about the importance of practicing conversation even though it is uncomfortable and you might not have all the right words, I was also able to provide him with a huge laugh. 🙂  What goes around does come around, I suppose.

Anyway, all that being said I just wanted to share that one thing I have learned in this last year is that I must write.  Just like Emma.  She writes and that is how she opens up her heart.  I write and that is how I think.  Writing is how I talk to God.  Writing is how I plan.  Writing is how I dream.  Writing is how I center my head and heart and figure out what I’m actually feeling.

This last year I haven’t written.

Many things I have not wanted to process.  Many things have been too hurtful to have the energy to spend the time on.  Not writing protected me in a sense.  Yet it has slowed the healing process of the last year, too.

So I think I’m finally ready to write again.  My journal is already filling up and to me that means that days are looking brighter.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Muppets sing “O Danny Boy” Click Here

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Finally Back to. . .Normal??

Gran and Pop left about a week ago.

Christmas decorations are put away.

The house is fairly clean.

School is going strong.

I’m sore from a new workout plan.

I’m blogging again.

I’d say life is just about back to as normal as it’s going to get.

Welcome 2012!

(Don’t you love the pic of my dad holding a Starbucks cup?  Amy influence. . . 🙂  )

Steven Curtis Chapman and Tim Tebow in ONE video!? No way!!!

Make sure you have a tissue handy :-). . If you know me, you know I LOVE this for so many, many reasons.

Kentucky Christmas

I’m spending a long holiday weekend with my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles in Kentucky. So…Merry Christmas, Kentucky style!

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Go Broncos!

After 9 1/2 years of being a Coloradan, I have finally become a BRONCOS fan!

I grew up loving football.  I kept stats for high school football where I was on the sidelines and actually learned the game.  But I typically don’t have a “team.”  My only “team” has always been UK. . .basketball, that is – not football.  That’s the Kentucky girl in me that will never die.  But over the last 5 or so weeks, I think I now have a new “team.”

Yes, I understand that the technical football critics think he’s an odd quarterback. I personally don’t care too much about that.  For me, it’s the inspiration that he brings to the team and to the crowd.  He’s a man of integrity leading a nationally recognized entity – what a platform Tim Tebow is creating – not for himself, but for God.  I love it!!!!  I love how the controversy is shining God’s light all over the place because of this guys boldness to love Jesus out loud.

Do you have a “team??”