God created seasons.
In sports, in nature [I’m specifically concerned about food availability], in our human bodies, in retail, in life in general, and therefore, in relationships. Sometimes I think that my friends think exactly like me and agree with everything “we” think. And then, other times, one of them drags me back to reality by being totally not okay with some outrageous statement that I so nonchalantly make.
It was probably some highly emotional talk where I was feeling warm and fuzzy with a friend where I just so casually blurted out, “We probably won’t be friends when we’re gone from here.” Oh, and I probably smiled and nodded to encourage her imminent and obvious agreement. [Sometimes, I’m such a guy.] Instead of being met with a concurring motion, any agreement whatsoever, I had an upset and offended friend on my hands. For weeks. [Whoopsies. Was it something I said? This might’ve happened three times in two months. But who’s counting?]
I don’t mean to be rude, insensitive, mean or snobby-at all! I’m just thinking and saying what’s on my mind… only it doesn’t come out in the way I mean it, apparently. What I mean to do is express gratitude and show that I deeply appreciate this friendship in the right here and right now. I’m not really a “friends are friends forever, if the Lord’s the Lord of them” type of person. I mean, of course—call if you’re in town or if you remember that I can help you out with something, but in general, in the daily life realm of things, I have strong views on the straight facts that many people come and go, and much of the time, I’m one of those people to you. [Insert that tear-jerking “Footprints” poem here.]
Living overseas puts you in a constant state of making friends and losing friends. People cycle in and out with the seasons and the school years. Life is transient and so are a lot of relationships. But to me, that doesn’t need to be a show-stopper. Truth be told, I don’t want to have to make some life-long commitment to you just because we spent eight grueling, hot and sweaty hours bonding together under the desert sun atop ornery camels with unintelligible names and weeds growing out of their teeth. Diagnose and call me what you will, but I know my reality—I know how many random friends I make in a week [I talk a lot]—and I know how many people I can manage as a close friend. The number is relatively low. And I like that.
I also like how our Father knows how to care for us and give us what… and WHOM… we need at just the right time. I like having temporary friends who are clearly sent to me as a gift to meet a need, be someone I can help or to just delight in one another’s day or work, and then we travel on our ways.
Sometimes we’re friends for a season. And I’m okay with that. I’m really okay with that. I used to be made to feel guilty about that, but I’m resisting these days. I’m finding peace with this all because I know that God made seasons—He loves them, in fact. “There’s a time for everything…” And so I embrace it. True, it helps me to say goodbye and to say hello a little easier. [Sometimes it doesn’t.] But what I really love is that it reminds me that I don’t know if this friendship will be a, if I may, ‘perennial’ or ‘annual’ flower. I’m conscious of the fact that I should make the most of every opportunity, conversation and friendship, because I don’t know how much time I have to “give and take,” and I really just want to enjoy the ride, to be blessed and to be a blessing.
I miss friends today. I wish they were with me or I with them, but we’re apart or we’ve lost contact or I’ve intentionally or unintentionally “unfriended” them on FaceBook. Whatever. I’m just thinking today, that with the religious Month of Fasting [“R” as I’ll call it] so quickly approaching this neck of the world, a lot of friends are going away, new ones are coming and some old ones are returning. Many ex-pats take the month as an opportunity to peace out of the country as many of our majority friends completely change their lifestyles, in some cases. [Double-doosey. More on this next week.] For others, it’s the end of summer projects and for most of us, a new school year is approaching, and nearly everyone is either coming or going. It’s a season change.
And God created seasons.
[A favorite season of mine: Pomegranate season. :)]