I was raised believing that school/neighbourhood kids couldn't ever be 'real' friends. I would have nothing in common with kids from Surrey so I should concentrate on developing relationships with the kids from church, in Vancouver, even though I lived in Surrey. We, (those that went to church together), were all Mennonites, and that would be the 'thing' that held our friendships together. We'd always have borscht, farmer sausage, zweibach and grandparents who spoke low german, to bind us together, regardless of where our individual paths took us...
Of course, this wasn't true.
But it took me a long time to realize that.
Like, 20 years...
First time I it occurred to me, I was in Phoenix, at a retirement community staying with a very non-Mennonite friend at her father-in-law's place for Spring Break. The surprising part of the trip was my relationship with my friend's step-mother-in-law. Haha. Did Not see that that coming. Her and I had dinner together just a few weeks ago and I realized again, how thankful I am that she is in my life. And how glad I am that God had people He wanted me to meet besides women born in 1961 who have Russian grandparents.
The second time I was aware of how non-Mennonite my world was becoming, was in 2004. I was in a van with two friends FROM SCHOOL, (well, not my school... my kids' school) driving to California. One was Pentacostal. The other Dutch Reform. We had no shared history. No one had plautduetsch in their past. They were not blonde. They did not have blue eyes. They didn't read the same books I did. They were not introverts. They were still married. WHAT DID WE HAVE IN COMMON? HOW WAS THIS FRIENDSHIP EVEN POSSIBLE?
Haha. If you get stuck on that thought when you meet a new person, ("what do we have in common?") watch this:
This video is making it's rounds on social media.
I love it with all of my heart.
THIS is what we have in common:
A few random thoughts:
- Friends from forever-ago are awesome. They've watched your story unfold from the beginning; they were there before. (Before kids, before wrinkles, before tragedy, before love, before loss ...) They've watched you grow into the person you are, so they know.
- Friends who join your journey part way along the path are awesome because they see who you are right now, and that's enough. They like what they see and want to walk alongside.
- You're never too old to make new friends; it's not hard. It might be a bit scary, but not hard.
- It's OK to say someone, "Can we be friends?"
I am throwing out old journals (again. I did this in 2006 also.) and came across the notes I took at a Regent College Free Lecture in summer of 2010 (or maybe it was 2012) called Sacred Companions by Susan Phillips... Here are my cryptic notes:
- Friendship matters. It's a spiritual discipline.
- Friendships are in decline.
- 25% of Americans have no close confidants.
- Friendships help sustain people in hard times.
- How does friendship help us grow, thrive, and be sanctified?
- Friendships are trumped by demands of work and family.
- Friendships are depicted as mostly for children...
- Children are evaluated on their ability to make friends.
- But there are no Friendship Coaches for adults, no Pastors of Friendship Ministries. We need help on how to nurture, repair, restore friendships.
- Are friendships dangerous to society? We tend to discourage the concept of 'best friends' - seem secretive, submerse, exclusive...
- A small group of like-minded friends can change the world. (Jesus and disciples).
- Networks are not a replacement for friendships.
- How do we nurture and encourage friendships today?
- Jesus chose to live amongs friends.
- A spiritual friendship is a mutual, equal, informal relationship. There is a commitment to confidentiality, regularity, and attending to what God is doing in that person's life.
- A spiritual friendship is a vehicle of transformation, of grace and of growth.
- Communities feel threatened by close friendships.
- Example of spiritual friendship: Tolkein and CS Lewis.
So many To Do lists in those lined, coil bound journals. So many sermon notes and prayer lists and deep thoughts. So embarrassing.
Three things I'm thankful for:
1. I am slowly starting to feel better. It's been over two weeks of head-ache, no energy, and a nagging cough.
2. The Great Blizzard of 2017 ended tonight at about 9 pm. Which is when I cleared the driveway and sidewalks AGAIN for the 6th time this weekend. I am getting to be a pro. Thankful for the snowblower, the fuel Daryl brought over, and the snow shovel I bought ten years ago.
3.We had a SNOW DAY (day off from work) today because Surrey got 12 inches of snow and Chilliwack got 30"! And tomorrow is a late start, because we got another dump this evening. Grateful for employers who care about safety.