Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Winsome Wednesday "What Things are True"

Can I confide in you, Internet? Can I insert my truth into your gaping silence and before a million robotic eyes? In the hours after I clicked "publish" on my last "Winsome Wednesday," I regretted and fretted. I felt ashamed. The atmosphere in my heart was the polar opposite of what I've intended to create with my weekly campaign to follow Paul's advice in Philippians 4:8 to fill my thoughts with things lovely, true and winsome-- all around me and even in me.

My words were genuine and my "10 Things" are actual habits that spark joy for me. These silly things actually do make a big difference in my daily outlook on life. I shared what was in me that morning, holding fast to faith that someone somewhere at some time might be helped in some way.

But in the moments after I published, I worried that nobody else would think these little habits were anything extraordinary, let alone joy-sparking. And then the accusing voices of my imaginary audience chimed in. How mundane. Well, she's definitely an introvert. Not one mention of interacting with another human being, save having her husband take out the trash. What's so joyful about that? How self-absorbed. Unoriginal. I've wasted five minutes reading this list. And she wasted an hour writing it!

As a Christian, I'm acquainted with the lying whisper of the enemy, and yet what makes the words so leveling is that they're always mingled with a grain of truth or, at very least, factual evidence. I am pretty isolated most days during the school week, and I don't often seek out companionship and adult conversation, as I should. I'm more apt to turn to a book or my journal. Yet, I deeply value my roles as friend, wife, mother, daughter and co-worker. Kind words from friends have been my anti-venom this week. Still, ever the introvert whose most lively interactions are often with books, I present you with truths about friendship that have sparked joy, contemplation and gratitude in me lately:

(All of these quotes are from Joan Chittister's The Friendship of Women:The Hidden Tradition of the Bible)

"In search for the superior in others is the search for the superior in myself. It is the magnet in the heart that leads me to aspire to levels higher than the watermark of the culture in which I have been bred. My friend is the one who shows me what I, too, can become if only I set myself to be it."  (14)

"Perhaps one of life's most precious lessons is that we must learn to choose our friends as well as to find them. The corollary of the insight, of course, is that we must learn not to allow ourselves simply to fall into alliances and acquaintanceships that come and go like starlight on the water, exciting for a while but easily forgotten. We must learn, in other words, not to make life a playground of faceless, nameless people--all of whom are useful for awhile but who never really touch the soul or stretch the mind or prod the conscience."(16)

"It is not a passive exercise, this thing we call friendship. To have a friend is to have the duty to be one. If friendship is gone about properly, seen as a position of trust, lived in the hope of fullness of soul, and practiced as both pledge and possibility, it is an enterprise of personal development that runs the risk of changing both ourselves and our friend." (66)

"Friends should consider themselves as the sacred guardians of each other's virtues." --Anna Letitia Barbauld (65)

"If we would build on a sure foundation in friendship, we must love friends for their own sake rather than for our own." --Charlotte Bronte

"Women bind themselves to other women not as prisoners are bound but as mountain climbers are linked: on loose ropes designed to save but not control." (87)

On Mary Magdalene's friendship with Jesus: "She knew him, and she did not flinch from the knowing." (82)
While I see so many of my friends living between the lines of these sage words, I am still a student of friendship. This morning as I think of their examples, and how they've expressed Jesus to me, I'm grateful for the "fullness of truth" Who speaks more clearly and more earnestly than the fact-twisting whispers of the Accuser.

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