Great Friends, Good Times

I haven’t’ blogged about friendship in a while, so here goes.

Friends Again

One of my closest friends is a friend I nearly lost. The issues don’t matter. What does matter is that we found a path back and are now closer than ever.

We had a planned phone call last week to discuss some work items, but we never got to them. Instead, we talked about life, faith, victories and defeats. It was marvelous. Good friendships are just the best.

Don’t give up on the possibility of renewing old friendships. Don’t give up on people, because you don’t want people giving up on you. It’s a golden rule thing.

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Work Friends

Saturday evening my wife and I hosted a Christmas party for our church staff and their spouses. There were four dinner tables set up to accommodate everyone. Dinner was great and then we gathered to play a game, men against the women. The men won in a landslide, although I was accused of bending the rules. Maybe.

The best part was just having everybody together. We laughed and enjoyed one another and had a fabulous time. Frankly, the people I work with are just the best. I respect and appreciate them so much. Its great to work with great friends.

Some things I appreciate about friends:

  1. Being connected with others.
  2. A sense of community.
  3. People to care about.
  4. People who care about me.
  5. The love.

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We are fast approaching the most meaningful of the holidays, the birth of Christ. Not everyone celebrates his birth, for them it isn’t a religious observance. But many do. Either way, Christmas can be a time to enjoy our friends, to appreciate them, and to make sure they know how we feel. Make the effort. You’ll be glad you did.

In Closing

I’ll leave you with this prayer:

“Good morning Holy Spirit. I lift up praise, glory and honor to you and to the Father and to Jesus my Messiah. Thank you for shaping my life with love, patience, goodness, and peace. Thank you Holy Spirt for all the fruits of Godly character. Thank you for helping me to make good friendships with great people. Amen.”

Shalom

Thank You Lord For Friends

Friends are the best. But what does that mean? Are friends the best because the alternative is the worst? What are they the best at?

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Friends Are the Best

Friends are the best because they put up with our weaknesses, foibles, and idiosyncrasies. They are the best because they are willing to stay connected with us. They show up when needed, help us when we’re helpless, and provide significant social bonds. We would be sorely diminished without them.

Top Ten Things Friends Have Done Lately

  1. Fixed meals for us when we moved in to our new house.
  2. Invited us over when we were in the extended stay hotel.
  3. Disconnected the old kitchen sink so the new one could be installed.
  4. Volunteered to help move us and meant it.
  5. Bought my book even when they didn’t really want it.
  6. Gave us a house warming gift that was really cool.
  7. Sent a care basket of things we needed while getting settled.
  8. Continued to ask if there was anything they could do.
  9. Called to check on me.
  10. Listened to me while I whined and complained about stuff.

As I review the list, I’m aware of how dotty and feeble I seem to be. Hmmm, good thing I have friends. 

Friendship

The greatest part of that list is what’s behind it. My friends are sensitive, caring, thoughtful people. They think about how to help. They anticipate what’s needed. They go out of their way. They are just the best.

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Friends I Want To Thank

I want to give a big shout of thanks to Louie and Mary, to Nick and Suzie, and to Adam, and to Zack and Matilda; and especially to Frieda and Farley. (Not their real names, but they know who they are.)

Even Jesus

I like to think of Jesus as a rugged individualist who lived without the need of friends, support, or fellowship. He was the Emanuel, God with us, and so what need of friends did the Messiah have? 

Yet he was a frequent guest in Martha’s home, with her sister Mary and brother Lazarus. Jesus wept with the sisters when Lazarus died. He was often in Simon Peter’s home. His closest disciples were sometimes frustrating, yet I get the sense that he loved them dearly and kept them close to his heart. He once told them no one had greater love than the one who laid his life down for his friends. Jesus laid his life down for them. 

Wrapping Up

So I say, “Good morning Holy Spirit.” I ask that you watch over my friends, to bless them, guide them, and to help them this day. I ask that you protect and deliver them from evil.

And I pause to say, “Thank you Father for the gift of friendship, and for the friends you have given me.”

Shalom

book

http://www.rickfyffe.com

Healing In Hard Times, Pt 1

Coping with grief seems an oxymoron. The idea of coping with deep emotional pain seems similar to a house coping with a hurricane.

It’s not so much coping as hoping to survive.

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The Deepest Pain

The most painful emotions are those associated with loss, as with losing someone you love, but there are other painful losses as well:

  1. Position-Profession
  2. End of a friendship
  3. Spouse by divorce
  4. Your reputation
  5. Your health

But Death

But death eclipses them all. The two most traumatic types of grief are losing a spouse or a child.

Coping?

The closest I’ve come to “hurricane level” grief was a stillborn child. He died in delivery and would have been our first child.

What Doesn’t Help

Caring people will offer their help. But they often make things harder through their unaware and unintended mistakes.

Here are three things that people did that didn’t really help us. These are things not to look for if you are looking for help with your loss and grief.

  1. People Who Wont Listen: they only want to tell you their story, to talk about their loss. They don’t listen, don’t really support you, they just assume that you will feel better by hearing about their pain and misery.
  1. People Who Ask To Help: This one is hard. Many people asked, “What can we do to help?” When someone is coping with loss, they can’t think, they aren’t thinking, and asking the question is just a burden. They don’t know what you can do. The people asking have the best of intentions, but ultimately, it’s a fruitless gesture. If you want to help someone grieving, take over food, go mow their grass, take their kids out for pizza, go do some cleaning if you know them well enough.
  1. The Wrong Messages: People will way things that are difficult to hear. Again, the mean well but often don’t really think about what is being said. Here are a few examples:
  • “God loved your baby so much that he just had to have him for himself.”
  • “Whatever you did to cause your baby to die, I’m sure you won’t do it again.”
  • “Don’t worry, you can always have another one.”
  • “You are young, there’s still time for lots of babies.”
  • “God is testing you, to see if you are worthy.”
  • “It’s time to stop grieving, get on with life”

To Close

Here is some advice about coping with grief.

Identify one good friend, someone who will listen and not weary of listening. Who will pitch in without asking what’s needed. Who refrains from empty words and cheap, hurtful advice. They will hold you when you cry, understand when you are sad, and make you laugh when you need too. They won’t judge you. They will just love you.

To be continued…

A Friend Like You

Last week a good friend spoke at our Summer Wednesday Night Program. His message was on friendship; it was really good, his lessons always are.

He used Jonathon and David as a basis for the lesson. He spoke of the loyalty and devotion they shared. He spoke of how difficult it must have been to sustain their friendship, since  there was a major issue.

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Great Friends! A Blessing From God?

The Issue

It’s good when your parents like your friends. But it wasn’t so for Jonathon. His father was Saul, the reigning King of Israel. The issue was that the King hated David, despising him with all his heart. He was jealous, envious, and felt threatened by David’s popularity. Saul vowed to murder David.

Imagine The Strain

Can you imagine the strain; how awkward and complicated it would be to have a best friend that your dad was committed to killing?

Loyalties?

How did Jonathon manage it? Did he ever feel torn; did he struggle with the polarizing loyalties? Can you imagine sitting at the king’s table, listening to him spew his vitriol venom about your closest friend, a friend who you thought of as a brother?

It must have been horrible.

At The End

At the close of their lives, King Saul, Jonathan, and Israel’s army were engaged in battle with an enemy. Saul and Jonathon went down together, side by side. Somehow Jonathon found a way to remain loyal to David without betraying his father.

David mourned deeply for his friend.

Friendship’s Complexities

  1. When your spouse doesn’t like your friend.
  2. When you don’t like your spouse’s friend.
  3. When time and distance separate us.
  4. When our families don’t mesh or blend well.
  5. When conflicts and issues threaten to divide.

There are more.

Friends are good to have, really good friends are a blessing, and really good friends who are loyal for life can be a once in a lifetime experience.

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Great Friends: Loyal For Ever!

Closing Thoughts

Over the weekend, some really good friends did something exceptional. It blessed and benefited us and it came when we needed it most.

I don’t believe either one of their Dads want to kill me; at least not that I’m aware of.

Just the same, great friends help in great ways and often do so in just the right way and at just the right time. This morning, I am so grateful for great friends. 

Thanks guys, you are the best!

Shalom

The Walls Are Crumbling

After a long and pleasant lunch with friends, I found myself reflecting on the blessing of having good friends. There were three thoughts that kept rising to the surface.

The Joy of Friendship

It’s always good to see my friends. The moment they walk in brings a smile to my face; as if something inside just suddenly lit up. I love to make my friends laugh because I love the sound of their laughter. The joy of friendship is that friends give joy to each other. And the gift of joy is precious; it’s a true gift from the heart. Good friends bring great joy.

The Value of Friendship

Good and lasting friends are valuable. Maybe its because good friendships are hard to come by, they can almost be rare. Rare things are said to have great value; and the more rare they are, the more valuable they become. Like a piece of fine art, great friendships feed our souls; and reflect back to us the essential essence of our own humanity. People matter, they have value.

The Cost of Friendship

The cost is high. The price requires vulnerability and the willingness to share your life. Great friendships can’t be rushed. Forcing, or rushing, a friendship usually ends badly. For me, the cost of friendship is about the depth of trust. Some of us don’t trust easily. Some of us want to remain guarded and protected behind our man made walls. We might think that others should trust us, but extending trust to others, well, no thanks. I think friendship goes only go as far as the trust goes, the level of trust determines the quality of the friendship.

Great friendships have to be nourished and nurtured. They can’t cruise on autopilot, and they won’t survive neglect. There is a price, a cost to great friendships.

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In Closing

I love my friends. I love having friends. For many years I refused to pay the price, the cost was just too high. I wouldn’t let others in because I refused to trust them. I was the guy with hundreds of acquaintances and no close friends.

But lately, the walls are coming down, or at least have crumbled some. I’m building slowly and seeing some sweet results.

I’m experiencing the value and joy of good friendships.

And you?

friends uplift the soul