We are living in strange times and probably a little stranger from my viewpoint than from yours as I do have Alzheimer’s and look through that slant. Regardless of that, I have heard others feel the same way. It would seem that true friendship has waned. Empathy is nearly non-existent, sympathy is only superficial at best, and ‘forever’ means until times get tough.
I exist in a funk-like fog many days, but the days of clarity are precious. I only work on my blog on those clear days and try to find the words for the emotions I feel on all the days. I will write from my notes, trying to make sense of it all to share with those who care to follow along.
We all have needs. From the youngest newborn to the eldest among us. Every single person has needs. Whether you are a few hours old needing sustenance to 105 year old needing to see a familiar, beloved face, we all need something from someone. Children need someone who sees where they are on the journey to adulthood and provide for them emotionally as well as physically. Adults need friends and family to offer support, friendship, wisdom. The elders need what children and adults need. Every segment of society has needs as well.
Doctors need patients to talk to them and patients need doctors who really listen. Police Officers need to protect and serve and we need to call them when we need them and allow them to do what they do best. Pastors need folks who will follow, listen, and appreciate them and the church folks need someone to love them and share the pure Word of God with them with compassion and GODly understanding. Public Officials need to represent the needs of the people who voted them into office and the voters need someone who will keep their word and do their best to represent those people who placed them into the seat of power.
Having needs is a part of humanity. We all have them and we all would like them to be met. But it seems to me, we are living in an either/or society. For some, we have no tolerance. We do not allow for humanity, mistakes, blunders. We require perfection before we will meet the needs of another even though it is within our means to meet their needs. We demand things from them through our actions many times. This is the Hammer mentality. We carry Thor’s Hammer as our stylish accessory. Do as I say or I withhold everything because I can. See my Hammer?
For others, we love their needs. We depend on their needs to make us feel superior. So we create neediness in them. We bow to their every wish. We cave to their whims whether we agree or not, just because we need them to need us. Our choice accessory to carry for authority in any situation is a feather duster. If they need correction we tap them lightly as though we are wielding a magic wand and in actuality we are just granting another wish for them. We are quite literally handing over our lives into their hands to demand what they will when they will.
What a better choice it would be to use a Word. Back in the day a man’s word was like taking an oath or placing his signature on a contract. Mean what you say and say what you mean. If you say you want the best for your child, do the best for your child. Don’t go all ape-crazy on them, but be gentle, and remember you began as a child. Children change as they grow. Their needs change. But from birth, they need consistency. Yes should mean yes. No should mean no. There should be follow through. Not hammer-style, not feather duster-style, but you will be known and remembered for your words. If you have more than one child and you let one get by with everything and the other get by with nothing, that’s what they’ll remember.
As a Doctor, if you do not listen to the words coming from your patients mouths? Or if you do not keep your word when you promise to figure out the issue? Your retirement will be thinner than you imagined in the beginning. As a Pastor, your Word is HIS Word. If you do not keep it as you expect others to do, you fall short in leadership. Make sure you keep your word by preaching HIS Word in it’s purest context, applying it with love to your life and teaching others to follow in love. Every segment of society, whether you are a Police Officer, a Senator, the President, a Teacher or a Nurse, your word is important.
But the one I really want to focus on is friendship. Friendship is precious. The truest form of friendship is one founded upon trust. Trust comes from keeping your word. Trust comes from consistency. Always being there for that person. Praying without ceasing for them whether they are going through a hard time or not. My best friend is my husband. My other best friends are my children and my sister. They are the ones I count on the most. And they know they can count on me for anything, anytime.
There is another type of friendship. It is the seasonal friendship. I had never heard of this until one of my dearest friends through many years and many trials for both of us enlightened me. I thought it was friendship til the road ended but one day recently, they told me that God had placed someone else in my life now to get me through this part of my sunset journey and they wished me well. I did some research because this truly broke my heart and I did not understand. I found a poem or saying that spoke of some friends are there for a reason and some for a season. I still don’t understand it, but I accept it for what it is now. The main thing is to keep your word to your friends whether they are temporary or not.
How best to lay down the hammer, the feather duster, and rely on your words? By getting into the Word of God. Everything you will ever need can be found in it’s pages. Best parenting skills? Bible. Best Doctor/Patient relationships? Bible. Best Pastoring/Church Body? Bible. Best Policing/Community? Bible. Best Governing/Countrymen? Bible. Best Teacher/Student relationship? Bible. Best Friendship? Bible.
And the best way to study THEE WORD to keep YOUR WORD is by praying first. Ask God to open your heart to receive. Invest in a Bible that offers a good chain reference. Scripture interprets scripture and running the chain references is a great aid. Second, invest in a good Concordance. I recommend Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance or Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary, which are the two I prefer to use. It is vitally important to read with understanding of what you are reading.
Be consistent in all things with all people. Be loving, kind, even-handed, empathetic, and always keep your word. Let your word be your bond in all things. Lay down the hammer until you need it to build a table and use the feather duster to dust it after a good sanding, then keep your word and give it to the person you built it for, no matter how much you want to keep it for yourself. 😉