As I was heading out today to say goodbye to a friend who is moving to Nebraska, I stopped into my favorite coffee house. Peets. Ordered my usual – nonfat, extra hot, hot chocolate with no whip. Yeah, it’s hot in Seattle but I still like my cocoa …
When I went to the counter to wait for them to make it, I turned around and saw an old friend.
He’s literally old, if one thinks 80 is old.
I had such a warm feeling when I saw him. It’s been 3-4 years and we parted on not-so-good terms.
Part of the problem was that he was married and he was having an emotional semi-physical love affair with someone else.
It didn’t help that his wife was at home sick and on her death bed.
I thought how disrespectful it was of him. How unloving. How cruel.
His wife probably never found out but for me that’s not the point. It’s the betrayal.
I confronted him about the situation. He told me it was none of my business.
Since he was a leader in our church, I felt it was all of our business.
They both left our church because of other issues so no one had to really address the problem and quite frankly I think I was the only one who knew although many people suspected.
I had been thinking about this friend recently because he and his “new” wife visit an elderly friend of ours.
It’s always a blessing for me to see other people visit the lonely — especially when they are elderly.
I wondered how to reach him to thank them.
Then — poof! God puts him right in my path.
We had a great “reunion.” I thanked him profusely for his ministry in caring for others. Not every one wants to do that “kind” of work.
We hugged and parted.
As I left, I thought about how our friendship had changed.
Back then, I thought more of the “it” that he was doing instead of the person and what he was experiencing. Loneliness, a need to be touched and loved.
I can’t justify the “it” but I can’t dismiss the human needs either.
We are told that “all things work together for good.” It’s not what we think our good should be but what God thinks is good.
Sometimes we think that life is treating us unfair. But who are we to judge what is fair and unfair when it comes to what God allows in our life?
Loneliness can help us in reaching out and empathizing with those who are going through the same struggles.
The same with any other emotion we feel.
There is something to be learned but how often we cut it short.
Awhile ago I read a story about a caterpillar. A young boy had found it and kept it. He watched as the caterpillar “grew.” One day he noticed that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. After awhile a small hole appeared.
He kept watching the caterpillar and was worried as it seemed to be struggling so hard. It looked like it wasn’t going to make it.
He got a pair of scissors and enlarged the opening to help the caterpillar become into the beautiful butterfly it was supposed to be.
The shriveled & swollen body of the caterpillar just lay there. It crawled but could never fly.
Later he found out that the struggle was necessary for the caterpillar to become a butterfly.
The struggle through the tiny opening of the cocoon apparently pushes the fluid out of its body and onto the wings so that it can fly.
God allows us to struggle sometimes because He can see how wonderful we can become.
We help each other along the way on this globe called earth. As much as the battles inside us hurt, in the end we can become more beautiful than we imagine.
No one can ever really know the struggles someone else is going through. Sometimes we try to help but other times it’s best we leave them alone so that the “fluid” (Spirit) will make them strong and they can fly.
The next time your friend is struggling — remember that it’s not just about the “it” of what they’re doing/not doing but also about their humanness.
After all, it’s life …. as it is.