Well, if anyone was wondering, we went to church today (yesterday) as a family, although it was cold and no one really felt like going, we went.
The message was perfect for the way I was feeling.
Pastor Dan talked about people being so busy and being more preoccupied with Facebook and those so-called "friends" instead of going out into the world and having real and meaningful relationships. He stressed the importance of community, fellowship and true friendships. He said statistically people have fewer and fewer true friends whom they can trust and confide in.
He talked about how people will purposely avoid real, deep and meaningful relationships, because as good as real friendships can be, they can also bring heartache and pain. Even the best relationships will have some uncomfortable times, he said.
This has happened to me in my life actually. For most all of my life I have been blessed with lots of fun, funny, just awesome friends. I've had a close group of best friends for the last almost 30 years now. I have friends I've met in our neighborhood whom I trust and adore. Friends in church. I have dear, sweet, wonderful friends who are far away. I have friends through work. I've been really lucky!
But there have been a few bumps along my friendship road too. Bumps that really caught me off guard and really hurt me.
For a while there I'd say "My bubble is closed! If you're not in my bubble already you ain't gettin' in!"
And really I did pull myself out of a few social situations. I felt I needed to protect myself. And I'm glad I did. People always told me that I let people in my life too quickly. I trust too much. And I thought that was a silly thing to say. But when a few bumps tripped me up, I began to understand what they were saying.
So I closed the friendship bubble.
But I also know and was reminded today by Pastor Dan that true, meaningful friendships are why we exist here on this earth. We need each other to survive this world.
Using a story from the Bible, Pastor Dan shared how one man cannot make a journey on his own because if he falls, there will be no one to help him up.
And he's right.
Then tonight I read this story in Chicago Tribune, written by Barbara Brotman, about the Rev. Julie Harley who is stepping down as lead pastor at First United Church of Oak Park because she is battling ALS. After years of ministering to those in need, church members of her flock are now helping her with chores, meals, shopping and other tasks.
So in recent months I have begun opening up my bubble. And I'm glad I have. I know that having a trusting, open heart is who God has intended me to be.
If the wrong people trick me and get in again, then yes, I'll be hurt, I'll stumble on the friendship road I'm sure. But I also trust that God will have the right person close by to help me get back up.
I can't wait to see what Pastor Dan talks about next week! And to think I didn't want to go to church today! So glad I did!
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Until next time, love each other!