Tag Archives: friendship

Welcome Home!

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Mommy, it’s too early to shine a camera flash in my eyes!

<— I can’t imagine waking up to a cuter face. I was in Jamaica for twelve days. That’s it. My parents pick me and my friend up from the airport and give me a “welcome home” gift from two of my close friends. I drive to my apartment and find my kitty, delighted to see me, evidenced by mass quantities of cuddling and purring. I open up my refrigerator to discover more food than I could ever dream of eating by myself. I gave my brother some money and food to watch my cat and my apartment for me while I was gone and he blessed me with far more groceries than I gave him money to buy. He also shared all the stories of how miserable my cat was while I was gone and how Oreo would not let him sleep because he was not me.

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I’ve been home for four days now, and my cat is still acting ridiculously cuddly compared to usual. This is actually a beautiful thing – Jamaicans are such a warm people compared to Americans. I became accustomed to constant touch throughout the day… Hugs, handshakes, fist bumps, you name it. To have all that healthy touch ripped away from me is difficult. It sounds kind of funny, but my cat helps me cope.

Last night I went to play volleyball with some friends. At the end of the night, one of them apologized to me that everyone seemed to have paired off while I was gone. She mentioned how hard it must be to see that once I returned. She also noted how hard it must have been to go back to work after my trip.

But I don’t really feel that way. I feel pretty awesome actually. I may keep whining that I should have stayed in Jamaica [I do miss the friends I made, but mainly I whine just because I am a whiner baby.] But how many people go on vacation for less than two weeks and come back to welcome home gifts and a thousand “I missed you so much!”s from their friends? How many people return from vacation to find more food in their cupboards than when they left? How many singles come home to an animal eagerly waiting at the door for them because the house sitter just was not mommy? On the flip side, how many singles return home from vacation to an empty house with no pet to smother them with attention? How many women go on vacation and literally feel no reason to return home? How many people return home and wonder if anyone missed them at all?

I always go through a little bit of post-travel depression. I LOVE to travel, and each time I come home I wonder why I have not moved from this country yet. But it wasn’t so bad this time. This time I was too aware of how loved I am. My friends pairing off? It’s nice to see them happy. My job? There are worse jobs. I am blessed to have one that allows me these luxuries in life such as travel. Loneliness? What loneliness? God has surrounded me by people who love me. One of my new friends from Jamaica called me last night and he immediately asked me if I was okay. All I could think was, “Why wouldn’t I be okay?” No problem, Mon – life is good!

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Dear Besties:

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I’m beginning to think that you all hate me.

Discretion? What’s that? Privacy? Who needs it? 

Wait – are you not the type to wear your heart on your sleeve? No worries! I will rip it out and tape it to your sleeve! Problem fixed.

Those things you said in confidence? Please… secrecy is for sissies. Allow me to broadcast your issues to the world. Don’t thank me now. What are friends for?

To all my guy friends: I miss you terribly. Somehow I managed to forget that women are completely incapable of keeping their friggen mouths shut.

For now, I’m okay. I’ve scolded those who are pissing me off and, slowly but surely, I am getting better at this not telling my close friends anything important because I realize more each day that they don’t know how to SHUT UP.

Unfortunately, it is only a matter of time before I crack. I will either go psycho-killer on them after they expose one too many of my vulnerabilities inappropriately. Or I will invest in duct tape. Lots and lots of duct tape. Besties, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Friends?

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Boy likes girl. Boy says sweet things. Boy buys nice gifts. Boy spouts deep dreams. Boy opens car doors. Boy is sooo handsome. Boy is sooo charming. Boy is sooo respectful.

Boy, it feels good to have all this attention. Boy, it feels good to be on top of his world. Boy, it feels good to be treated like a princess. Boy MUST be Mr. Right.

Boy gets girl. Boy abandons friends. Boy ignores acquaintances. Boy only talks to girl, only thinks about girl, only spends time with girl, only cares about girl.

Boy, it feels good to be the most important aspect of boy’s life.

Why does boy care about girl? Because he is in love? No… Boy cares about girl because girl makes boy feel good. Once girl stops making boy feel good, boy will stop caring about girl.

We’ve all seen it. We’ve all been stung by it. Our friend enters a relationship… and we lose said friendship. It is completely unhealthy. And it happens way too often.

Unfortunately, people seem to think that two people who shun the rest of the world so that they can spend every waking minute together are in a healthy relationship. They say the couple is “in love” and move on. They mistake this kind of obsession for devotion.

In all reality, at the core of any healthy romantic relationship is a strong friendship. A person who walks away from all other friends to “devote” himself or herself to his/her love interest does not know how to be a good friend. If a person does not know how to be a good friend, s/he cannot be a good boy/girlfriend. My example above showed a man interested in a woman. It can go opposite ways just as easily. This isn’t a dig against men.

If he cannot be a loyal friend, he cannot be a loyal spouse. If she cannot be trusted around other men while you are dating, she cannot be trusted once you are married. If she cannot keep a friend’s secret, she cannot keep her boyfriend’s secret. If he lies to his friends, he will lie to his wife. If she interrupts her friend during arguments, she will interrupt her husband during arguments. If he blames his friends for his problems, he will blame his wife for his future problems. If she twists others’ words, she will twist her husband’s words. If he doesn’t listen to others while he is mad at them, he won’t listen to his wife when he gets mad at her. If she walks away from friends without explanation, she will walk away from her husband without any explanations. If he walked away from a perfect God whom he claimed to love, he will walk away from his imperfect wife whom he claimed to love.

It’s how relationships work. If you want to know if the person you are dating has what it takes to enter a healthy marriage, take a look at how s/he treats friends.

A Coffee Encounter

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“I do not believe a person needs to attend church in order to go to heaven.”

I looked him in the eyes, evenly. “I don’t either.”

His face became puzzled. “Then why do you want me to go?”

I had explained to this man earlier that I wanted him to go to church because I believe in Heaven and in Hell. I told him that I could not force God upon him, but that I at least wanted to be sure he knew more about Jesus Christ because it makes me sick to envision him in Hell someday. Oh yeah, and I did not want to be the one to teach him about Christ. Hence, the invitation to church.

“I believe that you need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in order to go to Heaven. I want you to come to church so that someone other than me can teach you about Jesus. I did not want to talk to you about Jesus because you like me.” I slowly poured forth my reasoning.

His eyes twinkled, but he still looked slightly puzzled. “What makes you think I like you?”

I fixated a “You’ve got to be kidding me!” expression onto my face and crossed my arms. He started to grin and then reiterated, “What have I done to make you think I like you?”

Several obvious signals stood out in my memory. I made a quick reference to something he had done earlier that day and then challenged, “Tell me you don’t like me!”

“I can’t,” he conceded. Then he smiled shyly and looked away for a second. When he met my gaze again his eyes were still twinkling.

After that issue cleared up I returned to my initial point. “Sometimes a man who likes me will tell me whatever he thinks I want to hear. I did not want to tell you about Jesus because I did not want you to make a decision based on your feelings toward me.”

My latte vanished within the first fifteen minutes of our conversation. But we sat and talked for over an hour. Our discussion ranged from church and salvation, to drinking and smoking, to hunting and motorcycles, to marriage and past experiences, to why bad things happen if God is merciful, and back to a relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m sure I’ve skipped a few things as well.  All in all, I enjoyed the time spent together immensely.

Which leads to my next dilemma. What do I do in the future? Now that I have shared the gospel with this man, Operation Flirt to Convert is complete. He knows all that he needs to know in order to make a decision. If I move further I will cross the line into Missionary Dating. I kind of wish that I had hated the entire Coffee Encounter. But I didn’t. I loved every minute of our friendly debate and humorous banter. The more serious aspects of our conversation also intrigued me. His point of view, even where it differed from mine, was very interesting. I almost hoped he would make me angry or disgust me. Then I would not have to contemplate a next step. I would simply walk away.

As it stands, I’m not sure how to proceed. He assures me that he will come to my church sometime under the condition that I sit with him. He does not want to sit alone like an outcast in an unfamiliar place. I understand that. Unfortunately, now that he knows about Jesus, I do not feel such a strong desire for him to attend my church. Now that the Good News has reached him, I worry about the trivial things that escaped my imagination previously.

Suddenly I am extremely aware of how potentially awkward I may feel while I introduce this man, whom I have no clear relationship with, to the other attendees at my small church. He is not my boyfriend, not my husband, not my brother, cousin, uncle, or any other kind of kin. He is not a friend visiting from out of town. He is not close friends with someone that I know. In all reality he is a random stranger whom I’ve met a handful of times and have no reason to still be connected to – except because he likes me and I want him to meet Jesus.

Sitting across from a table, sipping coffee wasn’t so bad. Sitting beside him in a pew sounds terrifying. What will I do if he slides his arm behind me across the back of the pew? Exactly how close must we sit together? Does “Bible’s width apart” apply? If so, where might I find a bigger Bible? Instead, might I be able to borrow one of my pastor’s kids to sit between us? Or will that cause us to look like a family?

GAAAHHHHHHH!!! When did this all become so complicated? Note to self: Cats are so much easier than men. Let’s skip Flirt to Convert next time the opportunity arises.