So, I’ve been thinking this afternoon about how much there is learn. Not just about ourselves, others, and God (oops, wrong order!) but about how we learn. And better yet, when did we get to the point where we felt that all we could learn could only come from others just like us? What do we really expect that to teach us?
Roll with me, here.
When you’re a certain age, you want friends the same age. If you’re at the tying your shoes stage and learning your home phone number, you want others right there with you. Classes are organized by age and you are taught certain things that are academically appropriate for that level. And then you progress. And your friends progress with you. You feel validated and, for the most part, on the same level.
When you’re a teenager, you want teenage friends. When you’re in college, you want the activities and fun that your fellow students want and are looking for. When you’re single, you want single friends (because married friends don’t get it). When you’re married, you want married friends (because single friends don’t get it). See where I’m going?
When you surround yourself with similarly minded, geared and goaled individuals, there’s a sense of harmony. Everyone “gets” one another. I know where you’re coming from, you know where I’m coming from, and we both know where we’re going ‘cause it’s exactly the same place. Not to say there aren’t challenges to be had – there most certainly are. True relationship offers that buffer – that iron – to sharpen you, to make you more into the man and woman you were intended to be.
For illustration's sake, I can’t help but remember a beautiful day, about two years ago, chatting away with my friend, Jamie, with my hands curled around a cup of Starbucks. We were having a wonderful time catching up and swapping battle scars and mostly running over married people in our mental single girl bus. I remember Jamie twirling her hand in the air and sarcastically saying, "Oh yes, they’re married. Which makes them holier than me. Yes, I forgot!" We laughed and noted the amused smirk on a lady near us. (Who was probably married. Obviously.) We were both single and passionate about it. And mostly passionate about proving that married people were on the wrong side and we were on the right. Cause don’t you know that once you get married your brain goes to mush?
And now we’re both married. God must have a sense of humor.
A typical like minded group will produce like minded intellectual and emotional “babies”. This is not bad… I’m merely rolling into the destination that it’s not the only way. It’s okay to be single and have multiple married friends. It’s okay to be young parents and have friends who have empty nests. It’s okay to be learning the primary colors and have friends who are already past the paint-by-number kits.
I love my friends who are at the same place that I am. I love knowing that I have newly married friends to go to when I have newly married matters to discuss. I love my single friends and the freedom and vibrancy they stir into my life. I love the friends who are younger than me, the ones that are older and the ones who have experienced way more than I have yet to even think about accomplishing. I love the ones who have babies so that when I start freaking out they can tell me it’ll all be ok.
Tonight I am having Starbucks with a new friend (always make friends, kids!) and I am ecstatic. Not only is she vibrant, transparent and real, she is farther down the road of life than I am. She’s been married longer than my nearly 6 months. She’s got kids and I have none. She’s also thinner than me, but we won’t go there. (HA!) But I am charmed and encouraged by her and I admire where she’s at. And I am humbled and jumping up and down on the inside that she wants to spend time with me. Because I’m different. I’m not where she’s at. We’re not the same. Or are we?
We of course share similarities. But we are at different spots on the map of life. She’s already passed up the first year of marriage, for instance, while I am still navigating my way through it. But the main thing is that we both love God. Period. There is so much I can learn from her and maybe God will use me to be a blessing in her life, too. You don’t have to be matchy matchy to get along. To matter. To be used. To improve.
You just need to be part of the same Body.
"I want you to think about how all this makes
you more significant, not less.
A body isn't just a single part blown up into something huge.
It's all the different-but-similar parts arranged and
functioning together. If Foot said, "I'm not elegant like Hand,
embellished with rings; I guess I don't belong
to this body," would that make it so? If Ear said,
"I'm not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive;
I don't deserve a place on the head," would you want to
remove it from the body? If the body was all eye,
how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we
see that God has carefully placed each part of the body
right where he wanted it."
~ I Corinthians 12:14-18, The Message