Back and Forth Friendships
I’m done. Well, for now, I’m done limp-running to try and catch the next flight. I’m done trying to fight the tired-but-need-to-keep-going feeling as we pass through another airport. Travelling can be a long story. I don’t find it that easy to sum up what it is like going back and forth, but it sure is nice to be back.
Today Calvin and I find ourselves home… alone. Cam hit the pavement early this morning while it was still dark and while he has his own impending deadlines and never-ending to-do list, we are basking in the idea of re-settling into our daily routine, too. Here are a couple of things that I have noted during our time of travelling:
- Don’t take friendships for granted.
I am fully aware that a life lived in four countries is abnormal; however it has added layers to my life that, though peculiar, are extremely precious. I can honestly say that I have true and sincere friendships all over the world. There are people that I do not see for a very long time, but when we do get the opportunity to see each other, it really feels like no time has passed. But, all that to say, it doesn’t happen easily.
- It takes work to maintain friendships – good friendships.
I remember when I first moved to Bogota so many moons ago. I was single and only knew one family (who were just acquaintances at the time). So, in reality I knew no one. During that period, I relied heavily on my friends in Australia. It was the Skype and email conversations that seriously carried me through until I was able to meet and establish friendships in a foreign country, of which naturally, takes time.
It would have been really, really easily for me to disconnect from these friendships. I could have easily stopped answering emails, not press that green button on Skype or update pictures on FB – easily. However, I had friends who did not let me go. They were intentional and consistent about being in my life and for this I am eternally grateful.
- The fruit of friendships.
When I think about what profits from friendships, Proverb 27:17 comes to mind; ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another’.
It’s so interesting as I settle back to life here in Edinburgh after having been in the States for two months. I come home having a sense of being ‘sharpened’ by so many friends, in so many different ways. Our crazy busy trip meant that we were in so many different homes, and what comes with that is a sense of learning from others. I get a glimpse, once again, of how our dear friends live and it helps me grow as a Christian. I see similar things and I see different things. There are people that are similar to me and there are those that are different, but in every case, I walk away encouraged to think about life again, to think about how I do things, and I am challenged - as a mother, as a wife, and as a friend, to not be complacent with where I am at.
- Don’t give up on people.
I am fully aware that having moved so many times in my life, that I could have easily been that person for so many with whom was too hard to maintain a friendship with. I mean, we weren’t going to see each other on Sunday, we couldn’t just text to grab a coffee or arrange a dinner catch-up. People didn’t give up on me and because of this, I am a richer person. Over the years, this has come to mind on several occasions when I think that it is too hard to keep up with someone. But then I am reminded about the times when people didn’t let me go – even if it was just a ‘like’ on FB or a quick text, it was the small things that helped us stay connected.
- Connect where you are.
This was a big learning curve for me. My move to Bogota also helped me to understand the importance of friendships where you are. I remember thinking that I was relying more on my ‘cyber-world’ friendships than those with whom I had daily, personal, real life contact. Don’t get me wrong, the friendships maintained through the internet were good for me and still remain important to me, but if they are the only ones I have or that I am relying on, I am actually missing out. New friendships, wherever they are (country, state, church, work or school) are often hard, and we can easily give up and depend on what we have, but, in actual fact, we are losing something in our lives. What if I had not put in the effort when I moved to Bogota, or the United States, and now here in Scotland. I was looking forward to coming back to Edinburgh, not just because it is an amazing city, but because I have friends here. I have friends that ‘sharpen’ and challenge me, and for that I am thankful, humbled and constantly amazed in the ways that my God provides those relationships for me – no matter where I find myself.
Anyhoo – all that to say, it is a crazy time going back and forth. Nevertheless, I come back knowing there are many who continue to pray for us, and many with whom we need to catch up.