Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along. 3 John 1:2
I had a slightly heated conversation a couple of days ago with an old friend of mine. We’ve been in each others’ lives for a long, long time. We have laughed together and experienced unbelievable joy. We have cried in each others’ arms and walked in the darkest deepest pits of despair together. We have been afraid, we have been surprised and there were times in our lives we could never imagine being separated from one another, ever. My BFF.
Our conversation was awkward this time and when it concluded I sat for a long, long time in the quiet, alone with my bible and my thoughts. Ok, with a tiny tear in my heart too because I was keenly aware of some differences between us now. I’m not sure when or how they got there. I longed for the day in our past when we were of one mind, of one heart.
We once complimented each other so well! Outsiders admired our frankness and honesty, our need for one another, our dependence and enhancement of the others’ talents. We were kinda like hand in glove. Do you have a relationship like that? Today, my friend and I seemed more like, uh…well, Sauerkraut and Chocolate!
Don’t get me wrong, I love both. I have an apple pork recipe that can make a pork loin so amazingly tender and good that I cannot imagine serving it without sauerkraut! It would be ok yet incomplete, unfinished, with something definitely missing. They just compliment each other so well don’t you think?
And there is chocolate. Oh, the difference it makes on a huge chilled bowl of vanilla bean ice cream with salted peanuts! The ice cream and the nuts are good on their own and even together, but the topping, the reason for the bowl, in my opinion, is the chocolate! But what happens if I took that same chilled bowl, filled it to the brim with that apple cider sauerkraut, and then trickled even the best ever made chocolate syrup over the top? YUCK!
You see, when I asked God to take over my life after a series of tragedies and pain-filled missteps, I meant it. I really did. I want to feel and hear and live in Him everyday of my life now. I want to learn, to sing, to dance, and to bless others. Today, I realized that sometimes, when we try so hard within us to reach back into the very life we were rescued out of, it’s kind of like mixing sauerkraut with our chocolate. It doesn’t seem right, it looks gross and I have no doubt the taste would be indescribably awful!
I am not making any judgments here about my friend. Not at all! I know enough about my Father to know that I am no judge of what He forgives others for, as my own need for His forgiveness is so great. I also know that His mercy and grace are sufficient, more than I need, when I choose to walk in them. I realized today though that sometimes in this life of mine that I am chocolate and others are sauerkraut. Both having their own attributes, they are not meant to be together in the same bowl. I’d rather not try to choke down this mixture that looks bad, smells strange, and is in no way appetizing. And I don’t want to try to fit mismatched relationships into my life anymore either. It’s just that simple. And you know what? God doesn’t require that I do!
How wonderfully freeing to know I can be me, my friend can be who she is and neither of us has to worry over the “fitting in” part. He’ll let us know where our respective places are in this life and whom to share our journeys with as we walk the paths ahead of us.
I will always be grateful for my good memories from this friendship and His healing in me of a few bad ones. I hope I become more like Him as a result of all this emotion, which will, in turn, make me an even better friend and hopefully even to her. See how that works?
So today, I think I will let God do the ‘cooking’ in my life and trust He knows which complements go best with the main courses of this particular season. Maybe I’ll cook up an apple cider pork roast with sauerkraut for supper soon, and then I’ll dig into a huge bowl of ice cream with salted nuts and chocolate syrup, and heavy on the chocolate please!
And I think I’ll pick up a gift card for my friend as well..for the ice cream store right down the road…because let’s face it…we could ALL use some friendly, yummy chocolate from time to time!