Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Great Friend

I went to dinner the other night with two friends I only see every nine or ten months. We've known each other more than 20 years.  The greatest thing about our friendship is that it feels we've barely skipped a beat when we are together even if we have been apart for a ridiculous amount of time.  Over our delicious Mexican cuisine, we spoke easily of our lives, families, jobs, and trips, and laughed about past follies and experiences we had as young adults performing while travelling the world. We had the most beautiful time - it was so great catching up - and I left that night feeling joyful and content.

Since then I have been puzzling over the reason why when reunited with some friends, you have a cheery reception while with others, it is a nerve-wracking reunion.  I prayed over this because I have experienced the nerve-wracking more often in my life and have felt guilt about not better staying in touch.  It came to me that while some friends are meant to travel beside you for a long portion of your journey, others are not.  And if the ones who are not meant to continue by your side don't find their own path, they feel an emptiness without you.  Sadly then, there is often blame assigned.  I've been on both sides in this situation and think back to the times when I felt anger or reproach.  In retrospect, it all centered around feelings of discontentment in my own life, thus making it difficult for me to be happy for my friend as they moved on and reached for greatness. 

Think, however, if we all were to travel together our entire lives, no one would ever forge a new frontier; discover a cure for disease; lead the country; have children (or not have children); leave a job; leave one's parents.  We are not meant to have identical paths. We are led down our own course by God who has plans for each individual person to bring glory to Him through all that they do, in every facet of life. 

As a final note, I contemplated whether or not I should even write about this because, as usual, I couldn't discern whether the message was sent to me or if I was just musing, arriving at conclusions on my own.  So as I was pulling up to church services last night, I prayed for God to answer my doubt clearly...you know me...gotta get knocked off the pew.  During his homily, Father Jim said, "You know, most of us say we have lots of friends, but in reality, there are only a few who are genuinely happy when we endeavor to succeed and achieve great things.  The others are acquaintances but a true friend knows your heart."  My daughter, Colleen, whispered, "What is it?" when I jumped at his words.  There it was - an answer to my prayer, a literal memo posted on the desk of my life.  "I'll tell you later," I replied as I thanked God yet again for His constant wisdom, direction and comfort in my heart.  Talk about a great friend...

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