Sunday, November 9, 2008

a quote got me thinking......

I was reading a book last night and a quote caught my eye:

"You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you." - Frederick Buechner

Wow...this created a stream of thoughts that have not stopped. I've been reminiscing a lot this past week and this quote just jolted me into another direction. Shortly after my mom died, the middle school guidance counselor, Mr. Fate (what a great name, huh!) did some one-on-one counseling with me before I moved to Chicago. I clearly remember one session with him where he wanted me to envision myself as a circle (stay with me here.....) and that circle is made up of many parts, which are the people that make up my life. Each person has a different sized portion of my circle; my mom would have had one of the largest portions whereas other people in my life would have occupied smaller portions (such as friends or family members I didn't see as often.) His point in doing this exercise with me was to help me understand that even though my mom had left a very large portion of my circle "void" by dying, others would come in and "squeeze" her portion smaller - so although her portion would never leave completely, it would be made smaller by the love of others so that eventually the void would not feel so all-consuming as it did then. Looking back at that time and seeing how my life has unfolded, the circle analogy has stayed with me and it has proven true.

It is so easy sometimes to concentrate or focus on what God has taken from our lives instead of what he has added. This is when I think about the circle analogy. My life has been, and continues to be, blessed with incredibly close and rich family and friend relationships. So even though I can get sad thinking about what has been taken from my life, it is hard to stay in that mode of thinking when I think of all the incredible relationships that have been added to my life. And yes, each friendship has lessened the void in my life in it's own way. I think of friends that came into my life during troubled times, friends that came into my life for brief times, friends that do not live near me but continue to pop into my lives occasionally, friends that have stretched me and made me grow, and I could go on and on. I think about my best friend who has been my longest friend, the ones that I can go months and months without talking to but still pick up where we left off, and the ones I've had to let go of because of differing schedules or differing life circumstances. They all make up the fabric of my life. I think about the family I'm blessed to be a part of who love me so very much not because I'm originally one of their own, but I got to marry my best friend. And every day I think of my immediate family, none who live nearby but I think of and pray for daily.

I'm going to end this post by quoting the words to a song that still makes me cry. This song was sung at my high school baccalaureate, and then a few short months later sung at the funeral of a classmate and friend that died (we actually lost two that day in the same car accident). You'll most likely recognize it......

Friends by Michael W. Smith

Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Cant believe the hopes hes granted
Means a chapter in your life is through
But well keep you close as always
It wont even seem you've gone
cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

And friends are friends forever
If the lords the lord of them
And a friend will not say never
cause the welcome will not end
Though its hard to let you go
In the fathers hands we know
That a lifetimes not too long to live as friends.

With the faith and love gods given
Springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you'll live in
Is the strength that now you show

But well keep you close as always
It wont even seem you've gone
cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

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