Thursday, June 16, 2016

I Don't Have To Be Right To Be A Friend

The large majority of my days are spent in Columbia, South Carolina. Though its claim to fame is being the capital of a beautiful state, life echoes relatively slowly. My days are brightened by the people I know and love, the friends that have finally after many, many years spent together become closer to family. 

Though I could fill my blog post with handfuls of people who make me smile, the large majority of my day generally revolves around two beautiful blondes and it is them I will dedicate the beginning of my post to. These two people have loved me, lived with me, cried with me, laughed at me (this happens more often than anything else), cuddled me, fed me, and generally made the darker days infinitely lighter. As they know me, I have grown to know them. 

I've learned what they look like when they're sad, and what they look like when they're happy, regardless of what their face seems to indicate. I've had to learn (through MUCH error) when her yelling "leave me alone" means "help, I'm hurting" and when it means "leave or I murder you". I've feel incredible pride when she hits notes higher than I thought the human vocal chord could produce. When he produces a piece of writing that I read and then raise my hands to cheeks, confused, only to realize that I'm crying. I hurt as they hurt, laugh when they laugh, and occasionally hope for their success harder than they do. Not only do I get the incredible blessing of being a part of their lives, but step for step, gesture for gesture, love for love, they are also a part of mine. 

Orlando hurts. Orlando continues hurting. It echoes every time I hug my friends and am reminded that there are Floridians who will never get that chance again. Because I realize, have to realize, am forced to realize that regardless of my beliefs about Pulse, gay marriage, homosexuality, there are 49 people who were and are viewed by the people they love in the same overwhelming way that I view the people I love. There were mothers who waited for the sons to call, best friends who giggled over a glass of wine, women watching the driveway for their wives to come home. They were musicians, writers, intellectuals, dancers, parents, children, daughters, sons, people. They were image bearers. 

People whose creativity, loving nature, suffering, intelligence, and life reflects the God who made them regardless of whether they acknowledge it or not. 

I don't have to agree with them to mourn them. I love them because I look at the people God has allowed me to love, and realize that somewhere there is an image bearer feeling the absence of the person they love most. Most likely they are carrying the weight of that pain, absence, world changing loss without any Jesus to help. And that makes me love them more. 

For better or worse, we are living in a historic time. More than that, we are making history. We wake up every morning, and individually contribute to our own story. I contribute to my own and my friend's and my family's and my school's and each new chapter is an honor and a blessing. As the church we contribute to more than just our own. We contribute to theirs. To those hurting in Orlando, or South Carolina, or the US, or the UK, or anywhere on this earth that God has created. Because we can not share the truth if they don't believe that we love them, and we cannot love them if we don't remember that we were first loved unconditionally. Before we accepted the Lord, before we stopped running, before we stopped cursing and burrowing into dirt because the light was absolutely terrifying. 

I love them because Jesus loves me and because I love my best friends (there are more than 2) and sometimes Jesus even lets me love them well. 

That is my story. It is why love wins....because love is love is love is love is love is Jesus and me when I accept that I don't have to prove I am unmovable in my beliefs before I can sit down and fellowship with another hurting soul. Because I don't have to prove that I'm right to make a friend, and it is when we make friends that we start healing wounds. 

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