Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Parable of the Lost Friends

I'm feeling a little isolated from people at the moment, there doesn't seem to be many people around.

When I do get some much coveted time with a good friend, I overindulge and end up late for some random appointment. Such was the case last Sunday, as I found myself about half an hour late for lunch... with a 4 mile journey on bicycle standing between me and my meal. This, after visiting an old friend at her church... and then talking to her son and daughter-in-law who had turned up just as I was leaving.

Although I am changing and growing as a person, there are some things within that don't change. I am always here for those I know... or have known - no matter how distant their own lives have carried them. It has been a pleasant surprise for me to be able to bump into old faces on Facebook who I haven's seen in ages... in some cases I haven't been close to those people...but now I'm in contact I will offer them the same level of attention that I have given those who I already speak to.

In fact, I might be responding to those "prodigal" friends a bit more readily... because I have become disillusioned and disappointed with many people I know... even those I count as good friends (and yes... I do still count them as good friends).

To quote Bilbo Baggins:

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve".

As time has progressed, it becomes more and more painfully obvious that the only time I seem to hear from these people... is when they need something, have a prayer request... or want to notify the world of some major event in their life. They never stop to ask how I am, they never just call me up or get in touch just to catch up. No, I'm just their spiritual butler. This is not fellowship... it should not be one way.

Of course, they have their own lives and they are busy... but I was online for a long time last night... and so were a couple of them. Yet they never returned my messages.

I am so disappointed... and the only reason I am disappointed, is that they know better than this... if they didn't I'd be more inclined to let it ride.

More and more, it is the people from the past who are letting me down... either because they won't snap out of the idea that I'm the same dorky, irrelevant kid I was back then; or because of their reluctance to do their part in keeping friendships alive. They are as much "lost friends" as the ones who have fallen off the radar completely.

There's a big part of me that has had enough and just wants to up sticks and go. However... it isn't in my nature, I'm a soft touch and I'll always want to give people that one last chance. I've quoted it before and here I'll do it again:

In the clearing stands a boxer, and a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down or cut him
til he cried out in his anger and his shame
I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains
Yes he still remains

It occurs to me I'm not alone in feeling this way. I'm willing to bet God empathises totally. While I've been typing this out I've been thinking about the Parable of the Lost Son, you can click on the link provided if you aren't familiar or just want to reacquaint yourself with it.

Many Christians believe that in their own way, both the sons who feature in the story were lost in their own way... and I am one of those who share this opinion. You have the younger son who goes away and loses contact, yet realises the error of his ways. You also have the elder son, who remains with his father... but who is wrapped up in his duties and doesn't stop to think of the relationship he has got.

At this point I understand how the father felt about the way both sons treated him...and it really isn't good.

If you go to church regular already... don't just do the church stuff, flipping well talk to God! If you have just started talking to God in your life... welcome home. If you are still out there...come on home - supper's nearly ready!

As for me and my situation:

I pray that my old friends will wake up,

my returning friends will be keen to rekindle old acquaintance into new fellowship,

my new friends will get to know me properly...

and that I reach out to embrace new friendships.

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