Part of this I wrote in a post over 2 years ago.
Have you ever desperately desired something, yet been incredibly afraid to get it? Maybe you’re afraid what you hope for isn’t going to be as good as you thought. Or maybe you are afraid it will be even better than you ever could have imagined, and you’re scared that once you get it, you will lose it. Whoever said, “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” must not have lost. When you don’t know the depth of what is possible, you don’t invest as much of yourself. When you know what you’re losing, it hurts a lot more.
What is familiar is expected and easy. If you know rejection, you know the routine. If you know loss, you know how to deal with it. Even if it’s not pleasant and your way of coping isn’t the best choice, it’s familiar. When you venture out and take a chance it’s downright scary. It’s a huge risk and it doesn’t always end the way we want.
I’ve always wanted to hang glide. I can imagine that it would be the most incredible feeling, soaring over the beauty below and simply floating on air. The most difficult part would be taking off. It’s tough to put everything on the line and let it all go. There’s a chance that the equipment would fail. There’s a chance that I would never get off the ground and never experience the flight. I could then only imagine what the gliding would have been. But if I took off and the feeling was more breathtaking than I could have ever dreamed, I would savor every second and never want it to end. And then it happens…the conditions change and the ride ends unexpectedly early. What I hoped could go on forever suddenly was gone. Experiencing the incredible, then losing it, leaves me longing more than if I had not known the feeling at all.
If all you know is rejection and loss, you can only imagine what acceptance and love feels like. Then it happens. Someone comes along and you begin to allow them to break down the walls. They know who you are, what you struggle with, where your heart is, and help you experience feelings you could only have dreamed. It’s better than you could ever have imagined. You feel love. You feel honest love from friends, a Christian love that you know is real. You imagine this is what people call ‘family’ and the friendships that others write about. You let down your defenses and savor every second of the feeling. You want those people to always be right there. You don’t want it to ever change. And then it happens…the conditions change and the ride ends unexpectedly early. It hurts a lot more when you have felt the depth of what is possible. Experiencing the incredible, then losing it, leaves you longing for more. But it also leaves you wondering if you can, or are willing, to ever take the chance again.
Maybe flying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…and maybe love doesn’t really exist. Yet, I know I’m capable of loving. I know it every single day when I think of my guys, my sons who are now incredible young men. I’m committed to them, I would die for them, I love them. Are other people just as capable, just as committed? Am I willing to share this commitment with friends? Are you?
But what about friends? Is it truly possible for people to look beyond themselves to make a commitment to another person? We label people we know as ‘friend’ that we’ve only just met. We have facebook friends who we’ve never seen. How are we to know when someone says, “I’m proud to be your friend” that they won’t turn away tomorrow? Or even further, when those ‘friends’ become like ‘family’, what does that really mean? Is it a commitment or is it just convenient for the time? Sure, there are seasons for friendships, but is that all there is? Are the words ‘friend’ or ‘family’ simply empty cliches that fade when it’s not as ‘convenient’?
It’s easy to walk away when your friend has problems. It’s easy to overlook the problems instead of helping them face the consequences to heal. It’s easy to move on and blame a disconnect on distance. It’s easy to say we’re too busy. It takes a friend to honestly confront…and stay around. It takes a friend to drop everything, if only for a phone call or email or text message to give support. It takes a friend to be intentional about keeping in touch, even if things aren’t exactly as they used to be.
I’ve been thinking a lot about whether I’m a good friend or not. Can I do a lot better? Am I a friend a friend would like to have? What about you? It’s not about gathering the most friends, it’s about making the most with the friends you have. Is this the way it’s supposed to be or am I missing something? Life is too short. We need people who we can count on, people who will be there when we fail and celebrate when we win. I need that…and I know I can’t be the only one who does.