Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I Collect People

"Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver, and the other's gold."

Photobucket Photo

I've always been a people person: outgoing, gregarious.  I love a good story, and I believe everyone has at least one to share.  Also, I believe people are like books in that one can never it's difficult for one to have too many.  (I did hear tell of a man near Harrisonburg, once, who had so many books on his second floor that it nearly collapsed.) 

My son will tell you: he's forbidden to say (and punished for saying): "I'm bored," because he can read and therefore travel anywhere he likes, including imaginary lands.  I love books because people write them; I love people even more than the books they write.  People--with their good stories--are boredom busters, for me.  They take me all sorts of places and teach me all sorts of things. 

I collect people.  Naturally, I develop closer relationships, spend more time, with some people than others.  But all my people are important to me: not because I'm trying to attain and/or retain a certain number of people, but because my people have loved, entertained, and taught me.  Because--in a nutshell--each has given a piece of himself or herself to me, at some point in time.  I've been honored, privileged, blessed!

Yesterday, I shared lunch with a sister in Christ and new friend.  I enjoyed it thoroughly, and--in turning my mind toward our time together--I drew a new conclusion.

To back up a little, I need to admit: as much as I love hearing new stories, I haven't found it terribly exciting, always, to share my own: especially in any kind of chonological order.  The older I've gotten and the more mistakes I've made (i.e., the more complicated my history has become), the less appealing and more overwhelming it's become to say, in essence: this is who I am, and here's how I became who I am.

But, over the past twenty-four hours or so, I've realized: not only was I afforded the opportunity, yesterday, to hear snippets of my new friend's history, but also to remember, relive, and reflect upon bits of my own.  And, honestly, I've a greater appreciation for some of it than I had, before.

For example: my new friend asked if--after ten years--this place is home to me.  I told her, yes: home without family.  (I do have two family members nearby, but most of my family lives 4-8 hours away.)  As I shared with my new friend, yesterday, it took some time, but both Jim and I have come to love this place so much that we're not sure if we'll ever leave (even when I haven't a joint-custodial relationship to preclude our moving).

I can speak only for myself (not Jim) when I say: the key to my happiness, here, has been my becoming rooted in the community.  I've become rooted in the community by collecting people, here, and not just any people, but people who really love the Lord and seek His face in their daily lives.

Are you familiar with the quote: "A woman's heart should be so close to God's that a man has to seek Him to find her?"  Beautiful words, and I believe both Jim and I had to be close to God to find one another.  Additionally, I believe wholeheartedly: I had to be close to God to form the friendships, here, that feed and flame my life.  Friendship, here, eluded me (except for with my beloved and sweetly patient Christy) until I started getting my act together.  Because my community walks with Jesus!

So I want to offer thanks, to God, that I live where I do, among the people I do.  Also for the opportunity to reflect on just how much I really do love this place, and why, and what Who made all the difference.

And now, if you'll indulge me just a little longer, I'd like to write a prayer for my new friend.

Dear Heavenly Father: Thank You for the sister in Christ and new friend with whom I shared lunch, yesterday. Thank You for bringing her safely to this place.  I know You have a plan for her and her family, here, and she knows it, too, Father.  Thank You for that.  It takes time for a new place to feel like home, Lord, and I just ask that You continue to bring the right people into these lives.  I pray for the right church.  The right small group.  Helpers of all kinds: the right doctors, teachers, service providers!  I pray for Your peace that passeth all understanding, also a sense of adventure and excitement.  And I thank You, Father, for all You've done, are doing, and will do.  Thank You for Your goodness and love.  Amen.      

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