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Sunday, July 31, 2011

On Friendship

“I guess God alone deciphers when we need each other most. Who will be the blest receiver, who will be the gracious host.” ~Wayne Watson~ 

We meet people throughout our lives that we think will be with us forever and then life takes its course and we find ourselves walking different directions.  In an effort to find out why we drifted apart, we look for fault.  If you’re like me, you look at yourself first and wonder what you could have done differently eventually reaching the conclusion that it just happened.  As time goes by we look back and we wonder where they are, how they are and with gratitude we whisper their names to the heavens for what they added to our lives.

I recently posted some questions to my friends on facebook about friendship and what it means to them. I learned that qualities such as respect, common interests and kindness, were important to all age groups.  But one of the statements that caught my attention was this, “friends don’t interfere with the journey”.  That struck me to the core for many reasons.  I have friends who watched me rise to popularity in the churches with my music and my gregarious personality.  They are the same friends who saw me spiral into the blackest hole I could have imagined.  None of them judged me while living the fa├žade of super Christian, nor did they judge me when I had fallen with my face to the ground.  They instead, extended their hands of friendship, opened their homes to me and let me walk out my failings.  They watched me grow through it all while offering a safe place for me to find protection, mostly from myself.  But more importantly, they didn’t interfere with my journey.  If they had, I may not have grown. They are those who have known me for a long, long time.

But what about the friends I have met on the internet?  You can tell by the way I have begun this paragraph that I believe friendships can formed by way of technology.  While most of my friends agreed that authentic friendships can be found in social network settings, they also felt that they can be harmful when not kept in balance.  In other words, while it is possible to connect with someone whom you have never met in person, it is important that we don’t allow our face to face friendships to lose their importance.  Having a new friend is exciting and fun and it can be easy to get lost in those early stages of friendship, neglecting those who have helped us become who we are.  So while it is possible to find great friends on the internet, it is also important to keep a healthy balance.  Most of all it was the common thought that social networking has been more of a benefit in connecting former classmates, distant relatives and other friends. 

In the past several months, I have become more involved in social networking than I imagined I would be and I have to say that I have met some wonderful people, some who I consider friends.  Although they have not known me long, they still have a special place in my life.  Twenty years from now, they may only be names that I whisper to the heavens when giving thanks for my journey.  Whatever the case, I am richer for each and every friendship, near or far, present or past.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Am From Desire

I am from bean fields and corn and from Iowa
from a house that was large and full.
I am from hollyhocks whose flowers
were made into dolls

I am from a town whose boundaries 
seemed endless though so small.
I am from dreaming and imagining; 
from playmates, pets and playgrounds

I am from conversations with Pat and Rose, 
with Carol Johns and Mrs. Delambert; Gertrude was her name.
From piano lessons and the prairie song
I am from black cherry soda at the baseball park in summer

I am from a small school whose teachers taught more 
than academics; about life and caring and fun.
I am from the wrong side of town 
where I was often looked down upon;
from hand sewn clothes and hand-me-downs.

I am from homemade bread and milk fresh from the cow
Because it was cheaper than the store brands.
From garden grown vegetables and oatmeal with currents
I am from homemade stew.

I am from a small school where everybody knew my name;
where teachers knew the sins of my family.
Some judged me for them while some
 had pity on me because of them.
I am from the ones who believed in me

I am from a fatherless teen-hood from a mother 
who worked long hours to provide for those yet to leave home.
I am from learning to work on my own 
from self discipline to succeed
and from resilience to exceed expectations

I am from independence learned to survive
from those who said I could not then proving them wrong.
I am from those who refused to believe in 
the strength of self-reliance
from my own willingness 
to get back up and try again.

I am from prayer, from the prayers of many 
and from the prayers of my own making.
I am from the voice in the wind 
on the high hills and the lowest valleys;
from the One who called me away from the chaos
I am from a refuge and a soft place to lie down.

I am from fighter instincts; 
instincts that tell me what is worth fighting for.
From the anger of an abused woman I stand strong;
powerful within but not so strong I can’t be broken
I am from the power of being free.

I am from friendship with women;
women whose lives speak without the use of words
I am from those who showed me far more than they told me;
and from their laughter when I couldn’t find 
a reason to laugh on my own.

I am from the friendship of my husband;
a man who sees so much potential that I believe it myself.
I am from a love that won’t let go knowing all of my imperfections.
I am from unconditional love.

I am from all these things but ultimately…
I am from an intricate design that won’t be understood
I am from faith that believes I was created for a purpose

I am from a desire to find that purpose
and to do with it as much as I can
Until one day I become too tired to carry on.

I am from desire!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Single Again

Being 19 or 20 and still single is hard.  The awkwardness of dating and dead end relationships is frustrating at best. That and watching your friends get married leaving you in the dust of wishes and dreams, is a cruel reality.  You wish for that special someone to come along and you dream of family and dinner at the table each night.  I remember those days. Then one day it happens.  We find the person we dreamed of being married to, or maybe we settled for someone who had at least one of the traits we hoped to find.  No matter the case our lives seemed to have been made complete according to the unwritten rules of society.  Man + woman = happily ever after. Right?  Away we go to every event, every family gathering with our spouse.  Somehow in our wedded bliss we forget about the ones who until the day we found Prince Charming, celebrated our joys and held us in our sadness; those who believed in us when we doubted ourselves.  Maybe it’s not intentional, but to the one left behind it hurts.  It hurts deeply.

Off we go into our married lives.  We have “couples” who we befriend whether or not all four spouses are compatible.  We plan dinners and nights out with our married friends.  We share the things we once enjoyed with our single friends with other couples and we develop what we believe are bonds that will last a lifetime.  But then that fateful day comes, someone finds themselves in the midst of divorce and two by two we drop out of their lives because it is far less complicated than to learn and grow with them. Maybe we are afraid it is contagious.  Or there is the partnership that ends because of the death of a spouse.  Granted when a spouse passes, the friends stick around a bit longer. But still, eventually left behind are those who suddenly are single again. Those of us who remain married go on with our lives and that person is left alone in the dust once again to deal with their grief.  We continue to plan outings that we once enjoyed with our friend, but we stop including them because they are single.  We make excuses and eventually we stop communicating with them except to the extent of trying to play match maker; because if they were “coupled” we would again have something in common.

It’s awkward to be on either side of this relationship battle, I know because I have been on both sides.  I have friends who are single and single again.  I heard someone say last week that their wish for a mutual friend was that she would find “a man”.  I cringed a bit inside because after having been “single again” for 10 years I had become quite happy with my life.  It was a struggle for a long time to really learn who I was separate from my former spouse.  But once I found the person inside, I realized that I didn’t need a man or woman for that matter to complete me. I desired a relationship, though, with someone who would simply embrace who I had become and would accept the love I had inside that I still desired to share with someone special.  But in all of this, I wanted to remember what it felt like to be single among a marriage-minded society and I wanted to always be mindful that my single friends may be single by choice. 

I’m not single anymore, but I hope that I will always care for those who are still, and those who have found their way back to single-hood whether by tragedy or choice. 

Having friends over for dinner this week? Invite your single friends too.

Amy Lynn 

Monday, July 4, 2011

He Cried

Softly she climbs up the stairs
hoping to escape the glares

Another day another fight
she slips away in to the night

Years go by she runs a race
trying to forget that place

She carries all her guilt and shame
and thinks that God forgot her name

She cries
for her freedom

Out of the blue
he came to her rescue
lifted her up from her shame

He knew her name
he felt her pain
he held each tear that she cried

he cried for her freedom

Painfully he walked that road
carrying my heavy load

And on that day he saw my face
He knew my shame would need His grace

He cried for my freedom

Along with the celebration of our Nation's independence, I'm celebrating another kind of freedom today.  To those who have been hurt and abused and have found freedom, I celebrate with you.  To those who are still waiting in line for that moment, I pray for you and hope that you will find your freedom soon.

Blessings this day,

Amy Lynn

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