A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17
“Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?”
C. S. Lewis
Just when I think it will be hard to make new friends, the Lord, in His grace, mercy and love decides to surprise me anew. Don’t you just love it how He does such things?
Is it a sign of old age that we start to think that we already have met our quota regarding our ability to meet new people and be open and honest with them fairly quickly? Or is it the fact that as time goes on, we find oursleves struggling with this more than we used to because we have forgotten that we can still choose to approach friendship just like a child does.
You know…. TRANSPARENCY?
You know… RISK?
You know… EXPECTATION?
Maybe we get stuck in our ways and get into our little comfort zones and stop looking for the best in those we don’t already know or we meet along the way.
Worse yet…maybe we get a bit jaded as time goes on and on and on – and we decide to close off – to shut down – to stop trying to meet new friends.
We stop opening up.
We stop walking right up to people like little children do and saying “Hi – my name is Annie and I want to know more about you. Let me tell you something about me so you feel you can talk to me a little bit. Then maybe we can be friends. Do you want to play?”
I am being so blessed and meeting so many new friends lately in so many unexpected places.
Here in the blogging community…
At my church…
At my job too.
But today I want to say how beyond grateful to Jesus I am that He decided to place me in a training class at work that truly is made up of exceptionally awesome people. If you were my husband, you would say that they are “groovin’.”
And they are.
Our trainer is one of the best teachers I have ever had or met in my life – no joke. She is not only knowlegeable, but funny, compassionate, and FULL of grace! I couldn’t hand pick a better person to learn from, that’s for sure. This woman is someone I could connect with on so many levels immediately. She is a spiritual mentor, and someone who definitely taps right into the essence of a person. Such insight. Such love. She loves us for all that we are, all that we aren’t (yet), and shows us that she expects that we will be GREAT. In some ways, she is seeing us (well, at least me) not at our best. You know, when you are in a learning curve – fears come out – nervous stuff – whining – even tears can come. Frustration. The list goes on and on. But she still loves us. She inspired a recent one of my posts – loving one another even on bad hair days – remember? Yes…that was because of HER. That was because of Jesus in her. No matter how I do in this new job, I am a better person for having met her. What an absolute blessing.
Then there are my classmates, who will be my new co-workers, and who are already becoming good friends in my life. We are all so different in so many ways, but the beauty in that strikes me time and time again!
I. LOVE. THAT.
The fact that we are all in the same boat, but struggle with different things – the fact that we all have different strengths and challenges (uh-hem, mostly me on the “challenges”) – the fact that we begin this part of our work journey together. There’s something that is definitely spiritual in that bond, even if you aren’t working at a Christian organization.
That’s so cool. That is groovin’ too.
One gal is smart as a whip and just doesn’t miss a beat. She reminds me so very much of my best friend I had in high school, who is still my friend to this day. In so many ways, we appear to be different (as far as how we approach people or mushy-type stuff), but she continues to surprise and amaze me in how compassionate and tender she is. You know how people can stereotype others – sometimes we can think a really intelligent and together person would not be warm. Quite the contrary with this young lady. In fact, she has such a sensual (should I use that word?) side. I don’t mean in the bad kind of way – I mean she likes dance, she clearly likes fine things – art, has the coolest earrings and style. I just really love her! She is so balanced, but real. She is rock solid – but she’s a gem and a treasure for certain. Treasure is the word – it’s like you find something different in the treasure box every time you interact with her. And I love to live vicariously through her fast-working brain. She is definitely someone I would work well with as a work partner – her focus and drive and ability to catch on so quickly would keep me a bit more grounded.
The other young lady in my class is also over-the-top intelligent and efficient, and has a great, sly sense of humor (which is probably the part about her particular witty brain that I love and appreciate the most)! She is one of those lovely girls – inside and out. She is soft-looking and kind and gentle in demeanor, yet never misses an opportunity to appropriately and wryly joke around. She surprises you with that all the time, because (again the stereotyping we do) when one first meets her, one thinks she may be reserved or shy…but she is not at all. She is extremely approachable and kind and FUNNY! She is full of information, but never comes across as a know it all. She has an appreciation for the big things in life as well as the small (such as fashion, and awesome videos that are fun to watch, my brothers and sisters – which is super important)! This chick is also very balance and full of grace. She too, likes fine things, I think, but never comes off as a snob at all! She has such a zest for life and all things new and hip and I love the fact that she will truly keep me in the know – I know I can always go to her if I need help and she will always be open to me. She is a young married gal and would be the BEST wedding planner in the world – something I could really see her doing one day. I love this gal too and think she’s just another really groovin’ girl.
Then there’s the male presence and I just can’t say enough about this guy and what a great sport he is. This gentleman just slays me with his dry humor – which is one of my absolute FAVORITE kinds of humor in the whole wide world! At first, I just thought he was a mellow dude – which he is, most definitely. But I have to admit, I didn’t get the humor (I’m kind of dense that way when I am first getting to know someone as to whether or not they are joking). Now I find myself literally cracking up OUT LOUD at more than half of what he says. Of course, it’s always a delayed reaction on my part which just makes it even funnier. I even had a dream that he was eating lunch with Bob Newhart outside of our workplace like the first week I worked with him – ha ha! He will say something and my analytical brain will be busy processing it, and then about a minute later I am laughing (I really am the queen of delayed reactions)! This man is also a wealth of information and is so graciously helpful and approachable too. He continues to surprise me and bless me with how supportive and encouraging he is. He’s smart, funny and laid back in the grooviest way. Yep – ANOTHER blessing to us all!
I think aside from the utter and total grace these new friends of mine display and the light of Jesus that shines so clearly through each of them in such unique and special ways, I appreciate the humor and the way I think that we will compliment one another at work, and maybe in life overall, the most. It is uncanny to see a group of people who can truly buckle down and work really hard, but know just when to lighten up the mood with some good laughs.
Different as we all are, we have that in common.
Guess what makes it the absolute MOST groovin’ of all – these blessings I have found in my new friends? It’s that we have JESUS in common. Nothing could top that. Just nothing.
Thank you Lord Jesus for my new friends! You knew – yet again – just who to place me with as I move onward through this new adventure. You knew just how to mix us up so we could put our best foot forward in our new roles at our jobs when some days (let’s just face it) we are on top of the world and others we are filled with doubts. It’s just like the picture I chose to put in this post above – we are all jumping off what may seem like a cliff – (the unknown as to how we will perform after training, etc.) but we get to do it together. Jesus isn’t going to let us drown, and we aren’t going to let it happen to one another either. That’s why I chose that image instead of a roller coaster. (By the way, Annie on the roller coaster might make enemies out of those new friends of mine really, really quickly, let me just tell you that right now).
Yes, no matter what, we are bonded by the common thread of YOU – the Mighty One – Savior and King and Lord! I can’t say it enough – thank you, dear Jesus!
And thanks to all of you – my groovin’ blogging friends. I feel your friendship minute by minute every single day across the miles! When I speak to others about you – my wonderful friends I have met through this blogging community – I am, ironically, almost at a loss for words.
In a sense, we are all jumping off cliffs all the time together as we move through this life and share our triumphs, struggles, and “stuff.” But isn’t it awesome to know that Jesus is there waiting for us the whole time? We may feel like we are free falling a lot, but He has us just where He wants us. We just have to stick together. He emphasizes the importance of that fellowship so very much.
We have to work hard.
We have to ask for help.
We have to make and be friends.
Just like the little children do.
Go out today, my wonderful friends – especially if you feel alone – and make some friends or nurture those bonds that you already do have with others. If trying to make new friends, either online, or on the phone, or through your work – really, just ANY where – simply use your own words, ask someone to come out and play – and ask someone to be your friend!
We can start by being wiling to be their friend first – then make the decision to be the most groovin’ kind of friend there is – the one who loves their friends at ALL times.
Jesus thinks it’s important. I’d venture to say He might even say it’s “groovin.”