I have been struggling this year with what my purpose is …. You know, what does the Lord have for me to do for Him? I think sometimes that my life is so ordered, so structured (work/church/family), that I may be missing opportunities to reach out and touch people that are different than me – you know, how do I meet someone addicted to drugs, or someone who has lost a loved one and mourning to the point of suicide? I keep telling my church that I’m feeling called into the bars – I really think I could befriend people that think a substance is the way to peace and joy and help them find something so much better. So far no one is thinking this is a good idea….I guess I might be a duck out of water. That said, if you see me coming out of a bar late at night, I haven’t lost it – I’m just “fishing!”
The election this week really highlighted how divided we are as a country, how we just do not think alike at all – and the stronger the division grows, the more concerned I become. Oh, don’t get me wrong – no one was more THRILLED that people have figured out Obama and what he really is about than me. I’ve been screaming this from the rooftops for seven years now! What I am concerned about is the fact that we just don’t seem to want to get along, don’t want to hear other people’s ideas – we just want to spout ours and draw our line in the sand.
Someone I know did one of the most hurtful things I’ve ever seen a person do – I am still upset about it – but it proves the point I’m getting at. She had been asked to be a bridesmaid in her childhood friend’s wedding, and on the Friday of the dress rehearsal, she TEXTS her friend and tells her she’s not coming. Oh yeah, she didn’t go get fitted for and order the dress, she did nothing to prepare – knowing all along she wasn’t going to go to this wedding, but didn’t have the guts to tell her friend. Now, this was not a casual friend, someone she didn’t know very well. This was a BEST friend all through elementary school, middle school and high school. Once the bride moved two and a half hours away and met her fiancé, they grew apart (as childhood friends do), but they still saw each other at holidays and things.
See, my friend didn’t do anything to keep this friendship going – just saw it as disposable and let it go. When she told me what she’d done, I was horrified – I mean, devastated that she had done such a thing. I said, “Why did you do this? What in the world?” Her explanation? “We just don’t have anything in common anymore.” I about came unglued – well, truth is, I did come unglued. I’m like, “Oh, a lifetime of memories, this person by your side through every event in the last 12 years, that’s not something in common?” No, the truth is, she didn’t want to expend the energy to be a friend anymore, didn’t want to pay out the $100.00 or whatever it was for the dress, have to go out of town for the wedding, just be inconvenienced. It is still one of the most upsetting things I have ever heard – the gall of it, and the absolute selfishness. Kind of like “If she’s not just like me, then we have nothing in common and I don’t need her as a friend anymore and she’s not worth what this might cost me.” Not caring what her friend needed. Well, that decision she made pretty much killed the friendship of all of the entire group of friends, because it was pretty obvious there was one less bridesmaid standing there at the wedding…
I have someone in my life that I have absolutely nothing in common with, but I love her so. She is my companion when I go to the beach for repairs – great traveling companion, so easy to be with, so kind, so accepting of everyone. She fits right in with whatever friend I have visiting, or people with children, or 20-somethings that used to be in my youth group. Have I said I just love her? What do I love about her? She is kind, she is gentle, she is wise, she measures her words and never speaks evil about anyone – EVER. If she says something too quickly that may be perceived to be negative, she’ll quickly say, “No, that didn’t come out right. What I meant was….”
She is not a Christian, doesn’t know my Savior. She is a liberal Democrat with an Obama/Biden bumper sticker on her car. (When she is at our house visiting, Tom teases her about please putting her car in the garage so no one sees that bumper sticker at our house – LOL) I am absolutely POSITIVE that we cancelled each other’s vote out on Tuesday. She is an Obamacare trainer – believes wholeheartedly in it; I rail against it. She watches CNN; I watch FOX. She reads the New York Times; I read the Bible or some fiction. She is 72 years old; I am 52. She has not had any children; I am covered up with them. She is one of the best people I have ever known, and I LOVE HER SO MUCH and absolutely cherish our time together.
Why do we think we can only truly love people just like us? Is it because we stay in our corner, hunkered down over our family and churchy friends, thinking we don’t need anyone else? Or someone else might disagree with our opinion or our way of thinking or challenge who we think we are? Oh, I pray God brings more people into my life like my dear, dear friend who blesses me in more ways than I can describe. I love hearing her opinion, challenging me to think beyond my upbringing or my faith or my work. She shows me examples of how I need to do things differently, how I need to get out of my comfort zone and open my mind to new ideas, how much bigger life is than the one I’m living.
As for me, I’m looking to be surrounded by people who aren’t just like me – how incredibly boring would that be! I feel God sending me out into the hedges and highways…..would you join me?
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.