I’ve often said that we live in a culture of friendship that is more defined by facebook than anything so our idea of friendship doesn’t contain ideas of love and sacrifice but rather is shaped more by the social aspect of that friendship.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.”
This is a verse that has been on my mind quite a bit lately. Not for any subtext type of reason, but rather a context type of reasoning. Let me explain what that means in my brain: I don’t think about this because people should be enacting this verse but rather this has been on my mind because I see people who are enacting this verse. The most amazing part of all of this: I see them enacting this verse on my behalf.
The stress that plagues me has been slowly building for months now. I do my best to handle it, but at some point the stress was coming in faster than the stress was going out. It was like trying to drain a bathtub that was being filled with a fire hose. At some point you just can’t keep up anymore. It began to culminate in my little boy getting sick and needing to come home from school on the same week I was trying to write and turn in the last major paper that I have left in my seminary degree. These, and many more that would probably just seem like whining at this point, all collided and resulted in me becoming physically sick for a week with no real explanation. No bug, virus, flu, or anything else that was explainable.
Intense headache and intense nausea. Pure misery. I fought it for as long as I could but I just couldn’t keep up at some point. I still went to work, still sang in the band, still taught classes, still worked out until I could barely stand upright.
I fought and I fought and I fought and I lost. Here’s the wonderful thing about this battle though. Losing wasn’t actually losing. When I lost I had to slow down. All of the things I was trying to juggle had to fall aside for a bit before I could pick them back up. The amazing thing about juggling is the intense amount of focus it takes. Whether you are juggling scarfs, or balls, or responsibilities, or stressors you can’t take your eye off of your object for even a second. But when all that falls it becomes easy to see what all every one around you is doing for you.
Losing wasn’t actually losing.
I have a tremendous network of support. I’m luckier than most people. I have so many people that love me and support me and lately I’ve been shown some very tangible ways in which they are serving me and taking care of me. I’ve often said that we live in a culture of friendship that is more defined by facebook than anything so our idea of friendship doesn’t contain ideas of love and sacrifice but rather is shaped more by the social aspect of that friendship. It’s why I always challenge people to find two or three people that are true, honest, and genuine friends that are willing to put each other first.
Friendship is more defined by the sacrifices we are willing to make for each other and way we are willing to serve each other. That doesn’t take all the fun out of friendship. It simply brings friendship to a level that not many people get an opportunity to experience these days because we’ve traded the true concept of friendship for popularity, and social pressures, and ease.
I say it in marriage counseling: If the husband does not look after his own needs but seeks to meet the needs of his wife and if the wife does not look after her own needs but seek to meet the needs of her husband then each has had their needs met in a far more fulfilling way than if they were simply to look after their own needs. This amounts in a life and a relationship that is synergistic in that it creates a level of fulfillment that could not be achieved by simply meeting your own needs (at least as you perceive the needs you have). The same works in friendship. But this calls for much more than just a friendship of convenience. It speaks to a friendship of labor. It is a wonderful labor, but it is labor nonetheless. And that labor is one that produces depth, produces worth, produces sanity, and produces love.
This amounts in a life and a relationship that is synergistic in that it creates a level of fulfillment that could not be achieved by simply meeting your own needs.