I got to spend some time recently with a good friend of mine. I was looking forward to our time together but still a little apprehensive. We’ve been friends for years but so much has changed. And then, some things haven’t. Our connection hasn’t for one and that’s a good thing. I need as much stability in this season as I can get.
We decided to do something fun and spent our time playing games and being young. We are young. But not as young as we used to be. I guess young is relative. To 20-somethings we are not young, but to the rest of the world we simply do not have the life experience and maturity to qualify for the more seasoned titles grownups use.
“I don’t know a lot about life” he says, “but what I do know is that life is a journey”. Such wise words from one so “young” (or not young, depending on your perspective). To say he does not know a lot about life demonstrates his own humility. His own awareness of the smallness of his personhood in the grand scheme of life and generations and universes. If only that came natural to me. I don’t necessarily feel “big” in my own eyes but I usually feel important. I rarely feel small. But I can say that even though I struggle with that type of humility, I have learned that very same lesson in this season. “Life is a journey”. He was speaking with an elder when he said this and maybe that is what also enabled him to speak from that place of humility. To speak carefully, choosing his words wisely because he was in the presence of someone with more life experience. “We can’t force people to fit into the mold we want them to be in. We must allow them to experience life for themselves”. He is right. He is so right. And if only I could have learned this truth less painfully. But maybe, these are the truths we never forget. The ones that caused so much pain for us to open our eyes and see.
I told him I was choosing to change. I was choosing to grow and he commended me for that, saying “So many spend their time trying to control and change others but no time changing themselves”. More wise words. I was so blessed by his insight and could see more healing and growth in him in the short few months since the last time we met. I could see him being “balanced out”. Because at one point I do feel his view was “I’m right, you’re wrong”. And that view was a response from others opposing his views saying the same thing, “We’re right, you’re wrong”. But these words “life is a journey” and “let other people explore it” is such a statement of neutrality. There is more balance in that statement. Often it is not a matter of right and wrong, but a matter of freedom and trust. Trusting that we do not know everything and that the One who does has us in His hands. He is busy working behind the scenes and making it all work out for the good for those who love Him.
I know my friend loves Him. I know my friend in his journey of self is in the end going to end up face to face with the One who created him and I don’t think he will have any regrets, b/c it was about his journey. I have to lay hold of that for myself because I have so many regrets. But I have to keep going back to the Lord about them. Trusting that He ordered my steps, knowing my flaws and imperfections and hang-ups. That He ordered those relationships knowing the heartbreak they would inevitably lead to. But still, He did it for a reason. And I have to keep moving forward so I can discover that reason.
My friend and I said our good byes after hours of fun. He invited me to visit him in his new home some 6 hours away and I will probably take him up on the offer. God has placed him in my life to know what a true brother looks like. I remember years ago getting a card from him, “I will always be there for you” he wrote. And I know he meant it. Because his personality type is one of those “bearing with you” personality types that so many of my close friends have. The same traits my particular personality type struggles with. But I’m growing and learning and healing in those broken places.
Self-awareness is probably the best gift God has given me in this season. That and wisdom.
“It is not the quantity of life” my friend says “it is the quality”. And I share, “Our choices dictate the quality of life we lead”. God has been teaching both of us. Such different paths we are taking and yet we are learning the same lessons. I wouldn’t trade my 30s for anything.
They are so much better than the 20s.