06 July 2005

Title Goes Here

One little item of housekeeping: I notice that my hit meter is actually decreasing, so all of you who regretted reading my blog enough to go back in time and not read it, that hurts my feelings.

Actually I attribute the quirk to the Classic Mac platform web browser I use here on the homestead. Now, I would usually use this as an opportunity to write unflattering things about the town I live in, Lodi, California, but I've kind of gotten sick of hearing myself do that. Beside that, God's really given some blessings here and I've been taking my precious time thanking him.

One of these blessings, however, I don't really understand. In fact, things like this have occured my whole life long and I've never quite gotten the hang of them. Was there ever the week of camp where you met a really cool person that you thought you really clicked with and you hang out all week long? Then you promise to write and maybe you do, a couple times, but within the context, you can't really extend the friendship. Or maybe you made a good friend toward the end of high school or college who, had time allowed, could have been a really important person in your life but really just ends up being a "could-have-been".

The could-have-beens haunt me. I don't always know what to do with them when I first meet them, and I marvel at myself when I begin to let them into my life. To bring this discussion into more concrete terms, (some background first) I used to dread coming back to the hometown because it usually meant social confinement as far as people my age were concerned. No one from high school is around anymore. I used to shame at coming back to get stuck in Lodi...again. Only if you live in Lodi as a twenty-something will you know how miraculous it is that I have fallen in with an all-star circle of friends. I know there has been some care in assembling this group, and I know said assembly wasn't achieved by mortals. So, if I'm (we're) here on purpose, what's the point if my plane leaves for Taiwan in forty days?

Recently someone said something about depth versus width of friendships, depth betimes transcending years of "quality time". I can roll with this, definitely. Without wading too deeply into the murk of destiny and its doctrinal applications, though, I want to know what to do with the could-have-beens in order to somehow realize the spiritual potential. Why now, Lord, when I was just getting a handle on keeping in touch with the people I know? Why now, when my chargepack of moral support is full? Am I to learn to rely on these people too?

And let's be real: it's the second time this has happened to me in the last 30 days. Many of my readers were in St. Paul at missionary training; they know. Now we're all apart from one another. What should we do when a meaningful friendship doesn't turn out "best friends forever"?

I only have one idea. Pray with each other. Pray for each other. Be as deep in these peoples' lives as they need. Sometimes we don't get the deeper attention from people who "know us so well". I do not write this to advocate any sort of spiritual fling (...I don't know what I meant by that, you can think about it). Remember that people need us as much as we need people.

Finally--all of this is occurring to me as I type it--as a missionary I suppose I won't have a lifetime to spend with each person I meet, but the Holy Spirit will provide inroads for Jesus' love where appropriate. Maybe this is what's going on here (among other things), in a laboratory-like enviroment. The dry-run, if you will. The Spirit teaching us to get down to brass tacks when it really matters. I could be mistaken but I say this calls a hearty hot-diggity-dog.

Anyone rarin' to hand me the "reason, season, lifetime" line in my comment box can please save it. It's this blogger's opinion that such labels rather confound us further about the nature of our relationships when they don't exactly fit, and upon examination, they never really do. The more I encounter love in mysterious and permutinous shapes, the less I want to christen them. It. And I won't stand by and watch it happen, either.