Thursday, November 02, 2006

loving me to death

I'm not naturally good with people. I like them on the whole, but when it comes to developing relationships, I struggle. I don't trust easily and I don't feel comfortable around people immediately as a rule. Up until about 6 months ago I had pretty much the same connections I did for the past ten years with not much change. I can't say I ever lost a significant one because I make so few of them. I suppose God felt I was ready to learn how to develop more important relationships in my life, because in the past couple of months, and weeks, at least twenty more people have come into the picture through involvement with small groups. A few are becoming very close. These relationships require various levels of commitment and help from my end, such as giving rides, phone calling, doing ministry together and my time and presence requested. Yet another person walked into my life last week, needing a ride to and from my Thursday group, and much more, it seems.

This woman is just now coming out of a period of being bed-ridden and alone. She's 44 years old but looks closer to 60. She is on disability and can't work, and is more or less forced to live with her mother, having nowhere else to go. She's lonely and seems to feel very comfortable around me. I don't mind her smoking in the car, and don't mind listening to her. She has asked me to call her, and I've told her to call me if she wants to talk. Our children are close in age. This one relationship, minus all the rest, would have been a stretch for me a year ago. As it is now, it requires patience that I haven't had up to this point and more. I have to make sure she doesn't fall getting into the car and offer my elbow when we walk from the curb to the house where we meet. She talks very slowly and very freely in the small group. The temptation to be irritated is great, and yet I know for sure God is bringing people into my life specifically.

Our Bible study overview was on patience, and the one thing that particularly stood out to me was the statement that people can be, and often are, assigned to us, and not always because THEY need OUR help. This is pretty much without fail a mutual proposition, each working on the other in the way God has for our individual good, if it is of Him. The difficult ones are often those. Hard does not equal bad. And what works life in one person may work death in the other. I guess I need alot of dying! I have to understand, as well, that it takes the patience of God to keep us committed to these relationships. I have to admit that often the ones I love the most do the most my self-righteousness, my pretentiousness and my pride. So, I guess there's alot of praying and driving ahead!


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