Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Friendship in a Constantly Changing World

“Change is hard, big or small,” wrote my Grandma, nearly word for word, in the last legible handwritten notecard she sent.

It came just days before she went into surgery for her fourth hip replacement (long story.) 

Grandma recovered from that surgery in 2006, but then she suffered a stroke. While she recovered from that, one day, months later, she got pneumonia and would not live to be with the family for Thanksgiving that year. 

Change is hard, big or small. 

I heavily grieved the loss, and still do, of her active presence in my everyday life. At first, I was not sure what I would do if I couldn’t go to the mailbox and find a handwritten card from her. I called her answering machine, over, and over, and over again. 

Lately, all I seem to notice is change. 

Friends move away, people change jobs, friends get married, have babies, or get divorced and move on. 

In my naive youth, I once said, “I need to see change constantly.” 

Perhaps that’s not so surprising considering I work in an industry that thrives on changing events as they happen, and even I have an adrenaline rush when plans change last minute and I am forced to adapt. 

Is it possible this is why some of us listen to the same song over and over again? Or, is it why one of my best friends and I chose to watch Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion possibly 80 times before we started college? 

Even still, while I am a little bit attention-deficit and talk in circles sometimes, I need a constant much more than I need constant change. 

Perhaps, just possibly, we wanted so badly to stay in a place that we knew we couldn’t stay in anymore, so we found something that would stay the same. 

Driving to work, while doing laundry, or even staring down the road of nothing on a treadmill, I’ll think of people and wonder if any of the people in my life are perchance the one person who makes all the torn seams come together.

As a Christian who struggles with just as much as the next person, the only constant I know is my Lord and Savior. Yet, I’m also of this life and living in it now and know that I look for a constant here, too. I am not entirely sure if it is a faith issue as much as it is a human issue. 

   It may even just be a living creature issue! Elephants know this, dogs know this; even dogs and elephants together know this to be true (and the subsequent heartache that comes in losing their friend.) 

TARRA, the elephant, and BELLA, the dog in 2009 (CBS News)

  The Bible itself says two are better than one, and three are better than two (Ecc 4:9 -12).

If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.

The key is in not getting stuck on just one person. Two may be better than one, but not if you’re the only two people standing. I’ve learned this lesson in friendship before. 

Tonight, I raise my glass to the friends of all walks of life, different parts of my life, and the people I haven’t met yet. 

Let us thank God and nurture the friendships that validate us, support our inner spirit, keep our light from burning out, and encourage us to never give up, and do the same for them.


The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee

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