I love friends. I hate friends. One of the people who knows me best said some things to me a few days ago that were difficult to hear. She told me that I have very little patience for certain people. I swing between "I'm here for you, totally," to "Forget it! You're not worth my time and effort!"
My first internal reaction to her words went like this: What? That's not me! I would never do that! The second reaction quickly followed: Well, she's obviously having a bad day so I'll just chalk up any stinging remarks to her foul mood. She didn't mean it. Three days later the third reaction finally kicked in: Okay, God, was there anything to what she said?
The short answer is: yes. I have an angry side to me. People who, in my opinion, have proven themselves unfaithful, undependable, and less committed to something than I am...well, I think they deserve my anger. Another one of my friends, when I confessed this anger thing, suggested that it might in fact be righteous anger. Though I would like to claim that, if I am being honest, I can only admit to having the anger bit and not the righteous part.
People will disappoint me. They won't share my priorities. They will occasionally forget to follow through on something. They might even struggle with faith and the commitment that comes with that. Anger is not the right response. It is a way for me to punish them, I guess. For not being the person I need them or I want them to be. It pushes them away because I feel like they have disrespected me or pushed me away. Some of it is me just being needy and high-maintenance, but there is another side. I feel this most acutely when people that I love withdraw from the church community I am part of. It just hurts like hell, to be honest. For some reason friendship and coming to a church meeting have become entangled in an awkward way so that when one wavers, so does the other. It sucks, but that's the way it often seems to work. I asked God if he ever got used to people leaving and he responded, "No, and you don't want to."
There are two amazing gifts that I have been given. They started out as small sparks in my life, and I have devoted many years to trying to develop, cultivate, and mature them.
1. I really really love Jesus, and
2. I really really love his church.
When either of these loves of mine are not respected and appreciated, I feel something like pain. Most often, I don't understand how people could not be attracted to someone so beautiful and strong and loving. Or how they could not see the incredible potential for unity and profound creative benevolence in Church. And I guess that's just it; they can't see it.
So instead of getting angry, I want to paint a picture, a beautiful picture. If someone does not treat Jesus with respect, I want to draw them a better picture of him and give them another chance to see that he's crazy attractive and sooooo exciting to be with! If a person dismisses Church as less than interesting or somehow unimportant and irrelevant, I want to show up with a hundred gallons of paint and splash bright colours everywhere until they see some of the incredible vibrancy that I see. She's stunning, she really is! Just give her a chance. Look at her through the eyes of Jesus!
For all those who have been recipients of my impatience and anger, I am sorry. You don't deserve that. I want to be a better friend. And I want to paint some beautiful pictures. In fact, I want to become part of the paintings. Please be patient with me while I learn to hold a brush.
This is a lighthouse along the coast of Oahu. Beautiful water variegation and textures! Splash, splash!