As I drove home tonight I was compelled to keep a watchful eye on the moon, shining bright and full, veiled by passing clouds every few minutes.
I was drawn to its magnificent beauty, and my thoughts wandered to my friend Cas, who is half way across the world, with the very same moon shining bright over her, in the very small hours at the start of this very same day.
I’ve been thinking and praying for Cas a lot in the past few weeks, and especially in the last 48 hours. I shared a little of Cas and her husband Todd here. I’m very sad to say that Todd passed away yesterday, due to complications from chemotherapy. In due time I’m sure Cas will share what only she can share, for this is her story to tell, I can’t and I won’t focus on that, but I feel I can share on what a glorious thing it is to have kinship with someone.
I can see why some people steel themselves to have impenetrable hearts and choose not to let people in to their inner circle. People are so……stinkin’ human. We let people down. We say and do wrong things. We stuff up situations regularly. We easily place our own filters and perspectives on things. And then life interrupts us and curveballs come our way. And bad things happen to good people. And desperate situations become dark and seemingly hopeless.
Yes, it is easy to hide away and wrap our hearts behind thick walls. To focus on whatever needs must. To control and manage whatever parts of us we can possibly control and manage.
It’s understandable, yes.
But it isn’t the most joyful way to live life. And it isn’t the most rewarding way to live life. And it isn’t the most comforting way either.
You see as much as my heart mourns for Cas, and as much as my body has wept over the loss of Todd to his family and to this world, I know what a privilege it is to have kinship with this precious lady. We shared experiences, in another time and another place, but her friendship will forever hold a place in my heart. And though I can’t do anything practically for her, at this great distance, I know that as I gaze unto the same moon that hangs over her, I can pray for her. Jesus be her strength. Jesus be her comfort. Jesus be near. And I think that’s one of the reasons why friendship is so important and so necessary, for all of us. So we can lend each other strength when we need it, so we can lend each other courage when we need it. So we can lift up others in prayer when they just haven’t got the words to utter a plea themselves.
Kinship. Or as a wise friend reminded me, this ‘knitted hearts’ business, it is truly a bittersweet thing. But one that helps to give meaning to our lives and comfort to our experiences.
Jesus seemed to have really ‘got’ the knitted hearts business. He had a group of friends within his wider circle of friends, that he chose to spend more of his time with. He also sent off the disciples two by two – knowing that companionship was important for them.
You see as much as people can be hard work and as much as sometimes it hurts to see others hurt so much, and to have a front row seat to injustices and tragedies, people can bring light into dark situations. They can bring laughter where there is despondency. They can bring energy to the worn-out. They can see things that others are missing and hear things that are deaf to our ears.
The fact of the matter is; we need each other.
One of the great joys in my life is doing little tasks in our church office. Although I treat it like a job because then the tasks I do receive the attention they deserve and the commitment that comes with that, I never call it work, because I love it so. One of the things I get to do is write in little cards that we send out with welcome packs to newcomers. In these cards I always try to write something along the lines of ‘we are looking forward to journeying with you’, but I try to change it up and individualize it for different people, the gist of it is the same and I think it is very true. Doing life with others is such a joy. Hard, yes, but such a joy.
After being new in different countries and different cities, my family and I have always been received by different people in various ways. Some people already have ‘full circles’ and don’t see how or why to make space in their lives for more. But others – others have opened their arms far and wide to embrace us, and that’s how I always want to live: always enlarging my circle and always deepening my circle.
It isn’t possible to have deep friendships with everyone, but it is important to have some, and I think it is possible to have very wide circles of friends….ever increasing…..
We’re all under that same bright moon. We all have something to offer others. And something to receive from others.
Knitted hearts require work and vulnerability – but by golly, what a worthwhile endeavor they are. Snot, tears, laughter and all.