Yesterday I was honored to spend a few short minutes to regroup with a old friend, old because we aren’t seeing each other daily/weekly anymore, no more Sunday after church Mexican food or Valentines Day dinners with our loves. This couple we became fast friends with. They are our people. He made a comment that it’s not been the same since we left, finding a new tribe is a hard task, but that one statement blessed me, and even more for my preacherman. I’ve said a hundred times to people, you will miss me when I’m gone, and this is true, especially about my husband. He is one to miss. I did not give birth to him and I did’t raise him so I take no credit for his gifts, but he is special and he speaks with authentic authority from God, in the pulpit. That is hard to come by and I know it, our friend knows it, we are missed. That is special and I am grateful for his kind words.
I’m not sure why, but they loved us immediately, not that we aren’t perfect in every way and all that (not)! And maybe because the preacherman was just that, THE PASTOR! But I just don’t think that’s why, I mean it’s fun to meet new people of course, but that wears off soon and they see the real us! Not so fun anymore…”oh no, they don’t have halos and angel wings, they are regular just like us, hearts broken, shattered hopes…” they say.
People eventually see behind the curtain and realize we aren’t so special after all. Even after that, some special people love us anyway, they become friends, they make room for us and all our non glory. They get it, they get us…so that’s how you get those friends, the ones who stick. Then we move to a new post and it’s lonesome out here but when we see them again it’s so fun. Even though it’s not like it once was, the love and friendship is still there and when we are blessed to hang with them it’s no different, just like old times.
The longer we live, we accumulate if we are lucky, a handful of these friends, each place we are the Lord gives us our people wether it’s new jobs or school or team we are with, there may be someone looking for us. A friend in waiting! They are few and far between and it’s lonely sometimes waiting for them and even worse when you are taken to a new station in life just when you are having fun but it happens and the test is, are they there afterwards. This is the life people in the military must live, I have noticed that those “old Army buddies” are usually adored.
A long time ago, several lifetimes even I was broken from a last phone call from a friend, me calling her to say what happened, no more association, I was the one who left, it was a job shift, but not a town shift, so why the crickets? On this day she let me know…”out of site out of mind!” Ouchie! Really, that hurts! But it was her decision and I lived with it, carrying that hurt for a while although using it as a learning lesson, I will not be so careless with my friends. I will value them and even though we are not on a daily/weekly diet of each other, I still care. Her loss, as my Mom would say.
Hospitality is huge to God and it is huge to me, it’s not just having company but having room in my heart for more. Being old helps to discern those who are in for the long haul or not. I try to let those folks know they are my people, with out gushing (I tend to do that!) but let them know I wanna be their friend. Sometimes they are in sometimes they aren’t but I’m always open. I find it interesting to meet new people and even more fun to see if…..let’s say, do they love the cheese dip at JALEXANDERS as much as I do, or Mexican food, or brave enough to actually eat all the bread at a restaurant and ask for more (yeah I do, don’t judge) or talk and talk about nothing at all and be there with a level headed advise when needed. Be the lifelong friend that helps me more than I have ever helped you. Some friends are those that immediately click, you just wanna be friends with them.
Pastors( & family) all struggle with the “power play” of how close is too close, we have done the leg work and it’s still hard. But, it’s worth it because ever so often there is that one who is cool with you and willing to love, even like you, even though you are who you are. But sadly it is rare, kinda like a Bigfoot sighting! I think the proof is long after we leave to another post, there are those that keep in touch, just like no time has passed and can take a lunch, catch up and see that we are a part of a big family. I am thankful for those friends that stick. I pray I am that kind of friend too.