Five Minute Friday: Team

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

There’s a battle raging today, between taking a nap and having coffee in order to power through the afternoon and evening. (And by “power through,” I mean, “stay awake until 8:30 p.m. if possible”). Wonderful as a nap sounds, I think coffee is going to win. It’s mostly hot chocolate, which is very much on the “no-no” list when it comes to my eating and exercise regimen. But you know what?

Sometimes you gotta.

Kate asks us about our: team.

Go.

Your team changes.

I used to have this idea that as I journeyed through adulthood I would have one consistent set of close friends. Not a huge group. Not people who would demand I interact with them every single day, because #intj and that’s not going to happen. Just the kind of tightly knit group that would eventually sit around a beat-up kitchen table while adult children rustled about with their own kids, reminiscing about shared stupid things, meaningless to outsiders.

That’s what we all imagine.

The truth is that closeness waxes and wanes. Some people are in your life for a short season. Others float in and out. As you get older and hopefully become more like the person God intends you to be, you find that perhaps you just don’t have as much in common with that person anymore. Or you go through a crisis and find the last person you’d expect to show up is there every step of the way.

Over and over we hear in songs and sermons or read in books that relationship is vitally important. That we weren’t created to do life alone. That’s true. But really, we wind up slipping into idolatry. We worship an ideal, then feel massive disappointment when it doesn’t turn out the way we planned.

Preachers and authors point to David and Jonathan, going on and on about their relationship and how wonderful it was. While they were good friends, the best of friends (no, they were not gay), they were in each other’s lives for a relatively brief amount of time. David spent more nights in the hills tending sheep or on the run from King Saul than he did hanging with Jonathan, jamming on harps or seeing who could shoot an arrow farthest.

We have to learn to be willing to go with the flow. (How I loathe typing that. Give me control or give me death). I associate with basically the same group of people that I have for the last 5-8 years, but the way it is now, at 32, is different from the way it was when I was 25. I’ve made new friends. I see some old friends less. I have a deeper connection to others than I ever thought I’d have. This doesn’t mean I’ve ceased to care about any one person. It just means that the shape of your team changes.

No longer do I picture that gathering around the table. Or if I do, the faces are blurry. I don’t know who might be there. It makes me a little sad. At the same time, letting go of what I thought adult friendship should be like and embracing the what-is brings with it a sense of freedom. I don’t have the first clue what God has in store for me. I’ve got to enjoy the ride instead of clinging to an illusion that will leave me discontented.

Life, I think, is a constant stream of celebration and mourning, often mixed together. Much as I am a creature of habit, there isn’t really any such thing as routine. Things are always shifting. It’s tough even when it’s good.

Blessedly, there is the One Who Never Changes. The Constant in the midst of chaos. Do we ever truly pause to think about that? If the day utter aloneness comes, when this earthly team abandons ship and there’s nobody to hear the cries or see the tears – it’s not utter aloneness at all. In the invisible, just beyond sight, sits the King of Kings. Remarkably, He bends near. Gathers us close. Listens well.

Forever the Captain of the team.

Stop.

My journey to faith. (15)

Photo Credit: Matthew Wiebe
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21 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: Team

  1. Hi, Marie! I enjoyed your post. Yes, it’s so true that your team changes along the way. We’ve had so many changes over the last 10 years that we didn’t expect, and some of the people who were pretty close to us are no longer in the picture. But I’m also finding that the ones that were meant to stay always show back up. 🙂 No matter how far apart we are in distance, our hearts are still connected and we still share the same God-dreams. The same DNA. Blessings and grace to you! And amen to the coffee. That’s almost always my choice. 😉

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    1. “The ones that were meant to stay always show back up.”

      How true that is. I have one friend that I’ve known since kindergarten. We were in each other’s weddings, the whole bit. When we were able to get together for coffee back in March, it had been probably 7 years since we’d really talked – but we just picked up like it had only been a few hours.

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  2. THIS: “Life, I think, is a constant stream of celebration and mourning, often mixed together.” I think that too friend. Reminds me of one of my fave verses Psalm 30:5. I’m so glad I’m on Gods team. Over in the 8 spot this week.

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    1. I like the way Eugene Peterson puts the second half of that verse: “The nights of crying your eyes out
      give way to days of laughter.” As Truvy says in “Steele Magnolias,” – “Laughter through tears in my favorite emotion.” Rarely do we have the one without the other.

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  3. INFJ here and yes, not a lot of friends. Plenty of acquaintances.

    In the past, I’ve been envious of people who have had friends from childhood and even if they didn’t see them for a long time, maintained their relationship.

    My Dad was in the Air Force so we moved around a lot when I was a kid. No email in those days, so when I moved, I would maybe write a letter or two to an old friend but eventually, I’d stop and concentrate on new friends.

    Some years ago, I got an email from someone I used to know in high school. That’s a long, long time ago. We’d exchange emails but I noted he’d send more to me than I’d reply to…a lot more.

    The communication conduit dwindled and finally died. We didn’t have anything in common anymore.

    I have tons of people I communicate with over the internet and I have friendly relations with co-workers, but I only have one friend I see every other Sunday for coffee. My wife sometimes asks me why I don’t have more friends, but the truth is, I don’t really feel lonely.

    I’m pretty self contained. I have my family and especially the grandkids. Some people are naturally more social and their lives are more organized around social events. But that’s them. I don’t think everyone has to have a lot of friends or be all that socially active in order to be complete.

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    1. I don’t often feel truly lonely, either. There are times when the isolation of illness (or surgery recovery) get to me, but I really don’t need to be on the go all the time and I really don’t need to have a wide circle of friends. Lots of acquaintances, sure, as you say, but friends – I’d rather have quality over quantity.

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  4. Marie I really enjoyed this! Because I know that dream of wanting those group of friends to grow old with has always been a dream for me but in reality it isn’t for everyone. God knows who I need and how long I will need them in order to bless me but also to help me to grow. I had a mentor when I lived in Nebraska and she was the best. Now we have grown apart because she was there when I needed her and now there is someone else here to encourage me and that’s ok. I love how God knows who we need and when we need them. I hope you are well.

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  5. I have found this to be true with friendships as well. I guess as we, and our friends, individually change and grow, it changes the relationship too. I’m not always good with change and letting go, so it is reassuring that God is constant and that he is the friend we can always rely on.

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    1. Makes me think of the song:

      What a friend we have in Jesus,
      all our sins and griefs to bear!
      What a privilege to carry
      everything to God in prayer!
      O what peace we often forfeit,
      O what needless pain we bear,
      all because we do not carry
      everything to God in prayer.

      Have we trials and temptations?
      Is there trouble anywhere?
      We should never be discouraged;
      take it to the Lord in prayer.
      Can we find a friend so faithful
      who will all our sorrows share?
      Jesus knows our every weakness;
      take it to the Lord in prayer.

      Are we weak and heavy laden,
      cumbered with a load of care?
      Precious Savior, still our refuge;
      take it to the Lord in prayer.
      Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
      Take it to the Lord in prayer!
      In his arms he’ll take and shield thee;
      thou wilt find a solace there.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Marie,
    first off, this. “We have to learn to be willing to go with the flow. (How I loathe typing that. Give me control or give me death)”
    Laughing my pants off! I’m a lot like you in that regard. Well, I was. I’m recovering. My oneword365 went from ‘trust’ to ‘joy’ to ‘humble’ and this next year, it’s ‘courage’. His timeline isn’t limited by the roman calendar, so ‘humble’ began in September 2015. But all of it was yielding control and trusting Him and living in grace and not needing worldly (I typed wordy) acclaim (and somehow wordy fits that as well).
    And yes, if He is the Cap-i-tan, (insert foreign accent to pronounce that ), then I am not. I’m not calling the shots or the plays.
    Well done, friend. I love being on your team, even if it’s across the state line. I’m excited to know you’re only one Snake River away though. 😀
    Love,
    Tammy
    (Linked at #65 this week)

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  7. Agreed on so many levels. Routine = nonexistent, because we always have to be flexible. I’m finding that out as I start a new kids’ schooling and my writing schedule. I got approximately one thing done today out of 3-4 I set out to do. C’est la vi! and so much grace. I love reading our words. You are wise beyond your 32 years, friend:)

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  8. Never have I related to one of your posts more. At 26 (just a year older than the “old you” that you mention in this post, lol!), I find myself with a constantly evolving social circle. Dating, working full-time odd-ball hours, and trying to figure myself out…makes for a complicated landscape. Friends get married. Friends have kids. Friends leave the faith. Friends drink too much. You do things that push people away. It’s all so hard. And yet, so beautiful. I’m finding myself increasingly thankful for love and for family. They’re always there. And God is surely always chasing down my heart, wherever its decided to run to that day. What a beautiful reminder and excellently written, all in five minutes! I’m impressed!

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    1. You know what’s cool, Justin? You and I are friends, despite the miles and never having been in the same room. I know that many pooh-pooh online interaction, and I know it’s no substitute for the “real thing,” but I’m thankful for people like you, people that I’ve met through the interwebs.

      Hang in there, brother! The next few years will be an up-and-down, but when you reach 30 – some things just fall into place. I’ve heard that 40 is even better. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree! It’s super cool. And I hope you’re right. It’s already beginning to act like a roller coaster so I know there will be plenty of ups and downs. I’ve gotta learn to trust God more and more every day! (Pray for me and my faith, sister. It’s hard sometimes haha)

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