"I've come to know the friends around you are all you'll always have." --Ben Howard, Old Pine
While not altogether theologically spot on for the Christian, I love the lyrics here in Ben Howard's Old Pine.
The last few weeks have felt as if I've been living in a fog. And I'm not quite sure when the fog will lift. My chest feels heavy. Dreams seem as if they are now broken, ragged pieces of once-beautiful pottery strewn all around me. Hopes seem as if they dangle on nothing but a small, thin thread. Faith feels like it now lives in a far-off distant world I may never travel to again. Laughter comes and goes -- but never without an acute awareness of its ending soon. Joy, somehow mysteriously, remains in the deepest chambers of my heart. Selfishness, sadly, seems to have convinced me that it itself is the good life. I'm grabbing for something -- but not altogether sure what it is that I'm grabbing for.
But what I do know is this:
Friendship has been the balm to my wounded soul.
Friends have been God's grace toward me.
Friends have sat with me in the dark. Friends have prayed with me. Friends have been patient with me. Friends have cried on my behalf. Friends have listened without saying a word. Friends have, when precisely time-appropriate, have called me out of darkness and into light. Friends have bought me more Hot Tamales and Swedish Fish than I ever thought the world even offered. Friends have song psalms to me. Friends have written notes and sent care packages to me. Friends have counseled me, and loved me, and made me laugh, and pointed me to new songs, and urged my heart to worship God, and instilled courage with me, and convinced me of faith, and affirmed the miniscule mustard seed of faith I've had, and used up their Verizon minutes just to say "I've been thinking of you," and read Scripture to (and over me). The list goes on and on.
It's been a hard summer. And the fog still lays itself thick over me. But I do not sit in the fog alone. Friends, with their strong shoulders and their Swedish Fish and their arms around me, sit with me. They, too, allow the fog to wash over them -- but, they, they, are not overcome by it.
I am thankful for friendship. It is changing my life.
I am carried by my God.
And I am thankful that the hands of my friends represent to me the hands of my God and the strength of my God to bear all things.
[Friendship is to make conversation, to share a joke, to preform mutual acts of kindness, to read together well-written books, to share in trifling and in serious matters, to disagree, though without animosity -- just as a person debates with himself -- and in the very rarity of disagreement to find the salt of normal harmony, to teach each other something or to learn from one another, to long with impatience for those absent, to welcome them with gladness upon their arrival]. ::Augustine::
[Friendship is being with the other, even when we cannot increase the joy or decrease the sorrow]. ::Nouwen::
Thinking fondly of these friends as I remember their faces.
From BG to Wildwood, NJ -- love in a box.