Friday, July 14, 2006

my best friend

As each year passes, my life becomes an even more complicated collection of experiences, preferences, and longings. With each move, each change in role, I have the "opportunity" to find new friends. You would think that the broader my life becomes, the easier it would be to relate to others. And in one sense that's true. It isn't difficult to find a "connection point" with new acquaintances. I'm a missionary, a homeschool mom, interested in adoption, fascinated by other cultures, with friends all over the world. I like scrapbooking, eating healthy, and reading, and have now lived on the east coast, the west coast, in between and overseas. Most people share at least ONE of these interests, or know someone who does, so we can find plenty to talk about the first time we meet. But that's where I'm beginning to feel stuck. I've noticed that in 6 months, my relationships have remained strikingly narrow. I don't own a house, don't have lots of money, don't get my hair and nails done, don't like sports, abhor pets & exersize, and don't get out much. Add to that the fact that we'll only be here for about 2 more years, and you have a recipe for a stilted friendship. It's difficult to find someone who shares enough in common with me to create the common ground for a well-rounded relationship. My like-minded friends back home are just that ... back home. And here, conversations keep coming back to the same things, such as motherhood or homeschooling. I can only think of a few people whose life naturally intersects with mine. Argh.

Then it hit me. As I was turning over my list of possible friends in my mind, I realized that there IS someone who can relate to me, who has shared not just a few, but EVERY one of my varied life experiences. It sounds trite to say that Jesus is my best friend, but today it's a tremendous encouragement to me. No one else knows me so thoroughly and still loves me. Even my husband, who has shared every address and most of the stamps in my passport, has had different roles and spheres of influence. He feels so differently than I do about certain seasons we've been through together. But Jesus understands the jumble of emotions within me. He's been right beside me all the way, and best of all, he promises to keep walking with me on this journey, no matter where it takes me.

Friday, April 07, 2006

this is your hug and kiss

It's become sort of a routine at our house, part of the get-ready-for-bed routine. Eliana goes potty, washes her hands, brushes her teeth, gets in her pj's, and gets in bed. After a story, 5 sips of water, some chatting and a prayer, it's time for a hug and kiss. Except usually by that time she's pretty tired. And often her mind is still going round and round about something she and daddy talked about. So when I give her a hug and kiss, sometimes she doesn't notice. On many occasions I've given her a hug and kiss, the lights are off, and she's supposed to be sleeping ... when we hear her voice ring out,
"Mommy! You forgot to give me a hug and kiss!"
"No I didn't!" I reply with a chuckle. "Don't you remember?"
"I didn't FEEL a hug and kiss!" she says.
"Well, I DID hug you, and I kissed you right on your forehead. You were busy talking when I did, so maybe you didn't notice."
So then we have to have another bedtime hug and kiss because she missed the first one.
Well, these days, just to ensure that she's paying attention I've learned to hold her face and look into her eyes before I tell her goodnight. "Eliana, this is your hug and kiss. Are you with me?" It works much better that way.

And then I wondered, just a moment ago, how many expressions of God's love we miss because we aren't paying attention. Perhaps we're too busy thinking or talking to notice His hugs. Hmm.