The Long Road to Friendship

 

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“I forgot to buy water to take for the long road.”   “What long road?” my husband asked.
“I am going to meet with my friend who is holidaying at Ballito.”     Just short of rolling his eyes he said with a sort of sniff   “that’s not a long road, it’s a thirty minute drive !”  Well, I hadn’t left the confines of the busy city for a while, so it seemed to me, that it was going to be a long road ahead.

It was a sunny day and a pleasant ride, not long at all, and before I knew it I was at her gate.  The joy of seeing a familiar friend is so delightful.  We fell into chatty conversation that filled a four-hour visit.

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We had crackers and cheese with our tea, as we did the catch-up on current events,  the state of the country, the state of the Church, engaging on doctrine, remembering co-hearts from our former circles, sharing  some family news, and shed a tear or two on little heartaches we had known.   Tears in friendship are good.  They make us real, and take the edge off being the super-women we sometimes need to be to those around us.
That is what a friendship can look like.  It’s a safe space for sharing, a space that is conducive for necessary and honest conversations, that are undemanding, neutral and
comfortable.  A lot of talking, but a lot of listening too.

But to get to a real friendship will require we take the long road.
Real friendships are not instant, they take time to form, time to be distant, time to be tested and moulded into whatever shape they will eventually become.    Friendships can be fragile things, and can break at any time along the way.   Real friendships need to be cherished and nurtured and watered to grow.

Oak sapling
As woman we thrive on friendships.  Probably because of the release of the feel good hormone called oxytocin in our system.    Or, more than likely at the core we are talkers and need listeners.   Or, perhaps we meet each other more easily at the emotional level.  Women understand “heart-talk” – women understand women.    Rare is the man who can say that he understands a woman.  Probably it should be so, for each in his or her own role, compliment each other.  Like a lock and a key – different, yet fulfil the purpose they are designed for – effective combination that unlocks potential.
And beautiful,  beautiful is the soul-friendship of a husband and wife team.

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There are many types of friendships.   The “bromance”,  is a compatibility of personality that can grow into lasting friendships.    Men friendships have a real strength about them, it makes the world a better and safer place.
Of course it would also take time for these friendships to grow.  Men are more cautious, because men understand men, and their protective and productive natures allow them to scan for the hidden agenda, the intruder, and for the thief.  They are the providers and protectors of their domains their families and their homes.  And will vehemently guard them, regardless of friendship.

Friendships are not just for woman and in essence are built up on good honest relationships.
Are good personal relationships the open secret of happiness ?  That may well be true.
Friendships at best are reciprocal, a give-and-take.   Often the highway of friendship will become a dead-end street when one just gives, and the other just takes.  That is what you find out on the crowded highway called Life.

Friendships require mutual understanding, with mutual deposits and withdrawals into each others lives.  Like a banking system, only with emotions, and feelings.
To build up a good balance  – make big deposits often, keep the withdrawals small, with no obligations.
If we do this, not only will our relationships grow,  but our finances too!

Good friendships are a gift,  a rare find.  It takes time to grow friendships, and that is why the road to real friendship is a long one, travelled lightly, with plenty of sunny  spaces in between.   And don’t forget to take a water bottle !

The friendship road is a road worth taking, a road to travel well, and along the way, with bumps and bends and all,  will make of us better people.  Let us celebrate our friendships.

A friend loves at all times…….  Proverbs 17:17

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Looking for … Joy

Looking for Joy.
I know I have it … but where ?  I must have put it somewhere to keep in case I needed it.  I’m like that.  I don’t like to throw things out.  I’ll store them for a long season if I have to, but to discard what I think is precious, is not likely to happen !  Now where did I put it ? If I let this thought simmer on the back burner it may come to me.

And so it did.  In the oversized tubs I store all my collectibles ? Yes, but which one? So the hunt began.  I scurried down to the garage and began to unpack the lavender tub.
No, it wasn’t there, but what I found was colour.  Colour in the form of off-cuts of material I had kept.  There were stunning reds, bright yellows, deep blues and purple, checker greens, even a little silver and mottled gold.  What a delight ! Then I looked up and looked around, and began to see colour everywhere. What a Joy colour brings to our lives.  Just imagine life without colour – and its a free.
Light from the sun is white light, if looked through a prism the light fractures and becomes a spectrum of colours, the rainbow of red, blue, green,yellow, orange, purple and indigo.  Colours have different lengths (frequencies – like music notes) shorter is higher and longer is deeper.  These notes / frequencies of colour bring colours to plants – everything is grey drab, until lit by sunlight.  Next time you’re feeling glum, look up and look around for the free gift of colour –  and be glad !

But that was not what I was looking for.  The next tub I opened was my Word tub.  It was full of words.  Letters, writings of other people, poems, special cards, scraps of paper with Bible verses and notes on courses and seminars I had attended.  It surely must be in this tub.  So I spent the next few days scrutinizing all the treasures in my Word tub.  What a joy, re-reading the hearts and minds of others and feeling their love all over again.  The Joy of friends, and relationships.  We can’t do without them. Well, maybe some of them, but no not all.

Then I found it !  At last, I knew I had it.  Tucked in the pages of a manuscript were the words of Dr James G Friesen of The Life Model Course I had attended some 20 years ago.  I remembered the “Joy bucket” and “Joy Camp”, and getting back on top of “Joy Mountain” which he so clearly wrote about and the fundamental importance of  regulating our feelings back to Joy.  Dr James Ph.D  is a Clinical Psychologist, and an expert in trauma recovery and Dissociative Identity Disorders.  Here are some concepts from the powerful words of The Life Model : “Joy is a powerful force in life which shapes our lives from the baby stage of our development.” (brain development) He explains this very clearly in the manuscript and states  ” Joy becomes the foundation for all other emotions.”  Dr James Wilder, a co-writer and researcher  writes on  www.lifemodel.org   “Joy was the engine that drove thriving and recovery and even produced the strength needed for prevention of trauma and addiction.”  Wow, those are strong words. Please check out The Life Model’s website and find out more on this life-giving course.  And visit Dr Friesen on http://www.jamesgfriesen.com.  Also visit  www.joystartshere.com for more information.

Life from a psychological view can bring an understanding to our inner world. Life from a spiritual view can bring healing and recovery from mental and emotional breakdown.
Undeniably suffering and sorrow are strewn along Life’s path. It is then that we find that Joy has companions  :
Joy and Sorrow  –  Weeping may endure for a night, but Joy comes in the morning.    Psalm 30:5
Joy and Mourning –  To give them beauty for ashes and the oil of Joy for mourning. Isaiah 61: 3
Joy and Strength – Do not sorrow for the Joy of the Lord is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10
Joy and PeaceNow may the God of hope fill you with Joy and Peace.
Romans 15:13
Joy and Gladness –  He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the Lord, Joy and gladness will be found in it.  Isaiah 51:3
        Joy and Fruit –  But the fruit of the Spirit is  Love  Joy  Peace  Long-suffering          Kindness Goodness  Faithfulness  Gentleness  and  Self Control.  Against these there is   no law.   Galatians 5:22

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Finding Joy is well worth the pursuit, and for me, it came one evening when I heard the Preacher from the big church on the corner say  : Joy is a decision you make,  to get your power back.
Joy is the essence of good mental health, so …  CHOOSE  JOY !