Occupation? Being a Friend

Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.

Joseph Parry(1841-1903)

My days are filled with differing amounts of dribs and drabs. The major ones are seeing friends and neighbors, phone calls, tutoring, teaching, and many types of writing—although by definition, dribs and drabs are never major.

By moving from project to project, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything by the end of the day. I might if I taught all day or wrote all day or made phone calls all day or was paid to do any of my dribs and drabs.

I like my variety, and I don’t want to be paid for what I do, but what do I the during the day? I asked my husband once after feeling like I had wasted a day.

You are a friend.

I like that label. The next time I am asked, “What do you do during the day?” I hope I remember to say “I am a friend.”

The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend.

Henry David Thoreau

Friendship, Homeschooling, Parenting

I’m Glad I Didn’t Know

There are many things I wish I had known and learned along the way. However, there are many things I learned along the way that I’m glad I didn’t know.

I’m glad I didn’t know:

People’s hidden agendas, or I might not have had the courage to enter those relationships.

How hard homeschooling is, or I might not have had the courage to start—and finish.

How quickly my health could decline, or I might have wasted time worrying.

How many incompetent doctors there are, or I might not have had the courage to seek medical care.

How much my heart would be broken for my children, or I might not have had the courage to have children.

And more.

I believe our memories are one of God’s best gifts. I believe not having complete information can be another good gift.

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. Corrie Ten Boom

Family, Friendship

Cups Of Tea

If you are cold, tea will warm you;

If you are too heated, it will cool you;

If you are depressed, it will cheer you;

If you are excited, it will calm you.

William Ewart Gladstone, British Statesman

This quote describes me although changing “tea” to “making tea” would also be accurate. I suspect I make more tea than I drink. The exception should have been aboard the Emerald Princess this week as I cruised to Canada. However, I learned today that teatime is no longer offered daily.

I don’t know if I will make the only teatime offered because the number of guests is limited. If I do, I suspect that the waiters in white jackets moving among the white-clothed tabletops will remind me of my aunt who likes to ask, “Who will bring her a cup of tea?” (See here.)

May someone bring you a cup of tea this week.


The Friendship Balance

A friend was moving and leaving not only a void in my life and others, but also a void in our church ministry. Anne* repeatedly told me that she was praying for someone to fill the gap. I doubted someone would serve us the way she had. I doubted I could work as easily with another person.

I frequently thought, “Pray all you want, but it won’t be the same.”

And I was right. I was given more.

My heart was knit to my new friend more deeply and more quickly than I could have imagined. I accepted this better friendship without explanation, but a mutual friend eventually did explain. “With Anne, everything was about us. Nothing was about her,” she said.

Anne asked, “How are you doing? How can I help you? How can I pray for you?” She didn’t answer those same questions. The rare times she mentioned her life, I felt privileged to be trusted.

My new friend was vulnerable. She revealed her heart. She asked me to pray for her. There was a needed balance in my new relationship.

*A pseudonym

How is your friendship seesaw?

Friendship, Lies I Believed

Do I Really Pick My Friends?

You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends.

Until I was fifty, I believed that ubiquitous lie. Sort of. The truth came to me as I sat on the sofa of a couple who had recently moved to another state. My husband and I had deviated from our route during a trip that was already too long—in both miles and time—to see them.

I remember thinking, “When we met seventeen years ago, I would never have imagined I would be sitting here today.”

When we met, we were outwardly incompatible, and we remained that way. However, we were friends. Shared life had made us friends.

Thinking back, I only tried to pick my friends twice. It didn’t work with Valerie in third grade. It did with Jennifer in seventh grade. All my other friends appeared. Divine encounters. Shared experiences. Shared ministries. Shared projects. Shared thoughts, All involved moments when something clicked that was out of my control.

Along the way I learned that I don’t control my friendships. Friends are a gift to be received, just as my family is a gift to be received.

Who is your unlikely friend?