Let me tell you about someone (or rather, a collection of someones) that now means more to me than they ever have before.
The body I am talking about, is the Church. The Body of Christ.
I have grown up in a christian family, going to church every Sunday for my entire life, with a few exceptions of course. This means, that I have never experienced what it is like, to not constantly be surrounded by Christians. I have never been without the Body of Christ, for probably more than a few days, if even that.
Then I went to college.
When I say that, it sounds like I’ve been here for a while. That is not the case. I have been here for a total of 2 and a half days.
In those two and a half days, I have felt a severe absence of Christians. I have met a few Christians, at a food packing event put on by CRU, which was fantastic and good for my soul. However, other than that, I’ve met none. This is the polar opposite of where I am coming from. At Black Forest Academy, my home for the past 5 years, I met a few people who weren’t Christians, but the rest were part of the Church. So I’m going from a 98:2 ratio, to a 2:98 ratio. Which leads me to the point I want to make.
I took the Church for granted. I took my quality Christian friends for granted. And along with that, I took God for granted.
I am now realizing, how critical the Church is. The Church is a community of believers. That sounds like a definition. But it’s a profound truth and a mind-boggling blessing.
I’m sure that within the next couple of weeks, I will get plugged into the Church’s local branches here, and experience that community again, but I thank God for this time without it, to show me how essential the Body of Christ is in a believer’s life, and how much of a blessing it is.
So as a challenge, if you’re surrounded by the Church, get involved and don’t take it for granted. And if you’re not surrounded by the Church, seek out the Church around you.
Cliff is a cool name. So I chose it to represent a cool guy.
Let me tell you about Cliff.
Cliff and I like to have conversations; conversations about pretty much anything. One of our favourite genres of conversation is theology. Now, theology discussions can take many forms. They can take the hypothetical form: “Do you think God ever created other universes before ours?” They can take the practical form: “What does God say about such and such”? They can take the unanswerable form: “Free will vs. Predestination”. Cliff and I enjoy all of these. He often has some thoughts, that I’ve never thought of before. He also has questions that I’ve never thought of before. He’s a thoughtful guy. However, he’s not just a thoughtful guy, he’s also an extremely attentive guy. He’s aware of needs, and seeks a way to meet them. He’s also one of those people that is talented at random things. And it just makes him that much more enjoyable to be around. And on top of all of that, he’s humble. He’s not the kind of guy you’ll see seeking approval from others or wanting to be noticed. He just does what’s right because he wants to share the love that he has from Christ. And that’s pretty cool.
(Side note. This is short and sweet, but these posts will get longer as I start writing more of them again.)
Let me tell you about Luxman. Now, you may think that Luxman is a severely random name. Well, it’s not. It means loyal and is from Indian origin. So I picked it on purpose.
My friend Luxman has been given the name Luxman, because he is loyal. This is the kind of guy that you can call up at anytime of day or night, and say, “Hey, I need you.” And he’ll be there. And if he can’t, he’ll make sure someone is. This guy is loyal. This is the kind of guy you want to go to battle with. The guy who will fight along side you. The guy who won’t leave you when you need him most. This guy isn’t afraid to get in your face. Luxman isn’t going to let you do something stupid, just because he doesn’t want to confront you about it. If you tell him to hold you to something, he’ll hold you to it. And he’ll go out of his way to make sure that you’re fulfilling your goals.
Luxman is a friend that you don’t find often. Some people don’t ever have a friend like Luxman. However, if you do, I strongly suggest you be grateful for him or her. A loyal friend, an “any-time-of-the-day” friend, is beyond value. Cherish them.
Elizabeth is one of my friends. Her name is Elizabeth simply because that’s what the internet said it should be. At least for the purpose of this post. She’s one of those people that uses her gifts to make people feel loved. She has a fantastic appreciation for art and she is an amazingly skilled artist. She uses her creativity to bless others.
One way she does this is through letters and notes. During the school year, Elizabeth and my friend, Kit and I, had a system of notes, where Elizabeth would write a note to me on Monday, Kit would write me a note on Wednesday, I would write Elizabeth a note on Friday and I would write Kit a note on Tuesday. And on Thursday we would all have lunch together. This created a pocket of joy in every day of the week and made school so much more exciting. All that to say, Elizabeth would express her creativity through these notes in order to make my Mondays less dreary and Mondayish. I kept every single one of those notes, and on occasion, on some especially dreary Mondays I pull them out and read them.
Another thing that Elizabeth and I do, is exchange music. We both have an ear for good music and we enjoy sharing our various finds to make the other’s day less mundane. Through her, I came to love The Paper Kites, Mike Tompkins, and Jon Foreman.
You see, the truth is that, that some days, you just don’t quite feel as hyped about life as other days. However, I’ve found that a friend that writes you a single encouraging note, or a gives you a song that presents just enough energy to get you excited about life again, is invaluable.
Elizabeth is one of those friends.
I’d like you to meet someone I will call Montana. Montana is an older man, with two generations under him. Montana is someone I respect very much for a couple of reasons.
First of all, Montana has a vast knowledge base. Now, this is very common among men who are his age, seeing as they have had much more time to gain life experience and several various skill sets. Montana was an art teacher, a school bus driver, a coach bus driver, a pilot, and has been involved in various levels and outlets of leadership. He built his own house, and added on to it for several years thereafter. He fishes. He’s a lumberjack and a boat driver. He has worked hard pretty much all of his life. He’s been retired for a while, but he never really retired from working. He simply does other kinds of work. I admire the amount of work he has done in his life and his affinity for learning and thinking.
Second of all, Montana tells some of the best stories I have ever heard. He tells fictional stories that he makes up on the spot, unleashing his incredible creativity with personified dogs and cats. He tells true stories, that you wouldn’t believe, because of how crazy some of the things he’s experienced are. He tells stories, about his childhood and how things were in the good ole’ days. He tells stories about how things were when he had kids, which were still in the good ole’ days. He tells stories of his travels as a bus driver. He tells stories about his excursions when flying. He tells stories about work. He tells stories about wild animals. And every story that he tells, will capture your attention.
I’ve found more and more that people from Montana’s generation have such valuable things to teach us young ones. They have so much history to tell. So many experiences to share. Such wisdom to pass on. So many skills to teach. So don’t let those opportunities go to waste. I hope that there is someone like Montana that you know and can learn from.
I have a friend name Wafer. I’m not even going to try and explain how that name came about. But, what you do need to know, is that whenever you read “Wafer” you have to, in your mind, pronounce it as “way-fuh”. That’s important. Now that I’ve introduced Wafer, let me tell you about him.
Wafer is one of those guys that I go to with pretty much anything that is on my mind and heart. There is a reason for this. I don’t go to just anyone with just anything. These people have to prove themselves worthy of my trust. And Wafer has done this time and time again. You see, it starts out with small talk. When I first met wafer, we were painting his house. I didn’t really know him, and so we exchanged a few awkward words and introductions and what not. But it didn’t take long for me to warm up to him. The nature of the community that Wafer and I were in provides ample opportunities for interaction. Sometimes it also takes some added initiative though. So after I got to know him a bit more, we started to share prayer requests. Every week, we would let each other know how we could be praying for each other that week. The prayer requests started off somewhat shallow. But as time went on, they began to become more real. They began to become things that were actually on our hearts. And we weren’t just praying for each other. We had numerous conversations. We would find some time during lunch on some days and go to the grocery store, buy some Magnum Bars (for people who don’t know what that is, I truly am sorry for you, and they are a brand of ice cream bars), and then walk, talk, and eat little bits of frozen heaven. Wafer is a man that I shared life with.
Wafer also graduated this year. As I realized that, which inspired me to write this post, tears came to my eyes, as I realized that we wouldn’t be sharing life in close proximity anymore. A friend like Wafer though, is irreplaceable and immeasurably valuable. I hope that you, as the reader, read this, and seek to have at least one friend that you simply share life with.
This post is about a friend of mine who I call Sizzle. I’ll explain how this name came about. You see, Sizzle is very much like an older sister to me. So one time, we were talking about the title sister, and various nicknames and shortenings, and she suggested the name sizzle. Which I thought was a fantastic nickname. So I have called her that for the past year and will continue to. And since I am like her brother, she calls me Brizzle. And together, we have the siblizzle connectizzle. And if you don’t get that, don’t worry about it, she will.
There are so many things that I admire about this person. I will highlight three for time’s sake.
Sizzle has such intense joy. And she doesn’t have joy for no reason. She has joy because she has hope. She has a hope in a glorious truth; that the God of the universe is her loving Heavenly Father. Whenever I talk with her, I get a sense that she has security because of her relationship with the ultimate authority. She knows that she is a daughter of the King. And this brings a smile to her face. And it gives off a sense of satisfaction and joy whenever I talk to her.
Sizzle has compassion. When I’ve been sad, I’ve always been encouraged by talking with her. She’s one of the people I go to when I need a good, I-understand-how-you-feel hug. She knows what to say, or what not to say when you talk with her. She looks for people that are having rough days and aims to help uplift and encourage them. She is consistently concerned with others and their well-being.
Sizzle has passion. Sizzle likes English. She likes the literature part of English though. I don’t like that part of English as much. But somehow, whenever I talk about literature with Sizzle, she speaks with such passion for the topic, that I want to be interested and I want to learn more. That impresses me. Sizzle also has a passion for loving people. She puts people as a priority in her life. This goes along with her compassion. She’s passionate about compassion. That also impresses me.
So, if you know someone like Sizzle, let them know that you’re thankful for them. Aspire to be joyful, compassionate, and passionate. They are admirable traits, well displayed by Sizzle.