Sunday, 8 July 2012

One's friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human. - George Santayana

   Recently I’ve met a lot of amazing people. For my whole life actually I have been blessed to meet amazing people from all sorts of places, and in doing so I have had some really interesting conversations. Most of these conversations happen spontaneously, and they are always the most valuable. When people are in need they open up. This is textbook for what I am doing here - I feel like my heart is on display in this book and blog but I’m OK with it. I have a need for people, I was made needing people, we are not meant to be alone. Especially for this reason, when someone leaves us for good it is heart breaking, because you can never prepare for that kind of emptiness. Nothing can ever fully fill it either, but loving more certainly helps.
    Last week I was in Glasgow spending time with friends and helping out a little at a Christian Day Camp the church had going on. I love visiting places and people, especially those so closely associated with my childhood - which this church and these people were. I met a girl who has ‘old woman’ tendencies like me (knitting, baking, tea…)! I had an insightfully deep conversation with a guy who was just a friend of a friend - and you might hear more on him later… A few friends and I went to see a fellow Christian in Hospital and got to sing 4 part harmonies in a beautiful chapel to raise his spirits, and I’ve gotten to know someone else who really needed to know that ‘they’re worth it’. The week before that I was travelling up from Brussels and the train was cancelled in Newcastle due to the landslides in Berwick. I got to Dundee the next day via Edinburgh but to get there I joined an impromptu travel group with 15 others and got a taxi. Of course I met some interesting characters, some of which I hope to stay in contact with; next to me on the train was an older man who in his retirement had just come back from a ship to the Arctic - he gives lectures about historical wars on cruise ships. He says he has never seen so much of the world, nor been so happily engrossed in his passion. Makes me wonder what I’ll be doing at 70! Never giving up, that’s for sure.

   I find people fascinating. I used to be so shy when it came to new people, I would be silent and hide behind my Mum or nervously laugh at jokes I didn’t get just to be a part of the crowd. Once I was on a one-to-one basis with a person I was more at ease, and for the most part this is still true. I find it hard not to tell someone my life story, and I find it hard not to ask ’20 questions’ when getting to know someone. I love people. Everyone is interesting, especially if they don’t think so themselves. The reason I love people so much, why I can and enjoy talking in depth with people is because simply - we’re all the same. We all have insecurities and have made mistakes. None of us know exactly where we want to be for the rest of our lives, and no one has done everything they’ve ever wanted to. Everyone needs encouragement to reach for their dream, and some people need a kick just to figure out what that dream is. 
Romans 12: 9 - 10 “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” 
   I try always to genuinely love others, nothing is worse than finding out a friend is two-faced, or that someone was using you for their own gain. I think this verse is SO pivotal in life because it could be the answer to all our problems. If we only learned to love in a righteous manner, if we only learned to respect others, if we only learned to be truthful, if we only learned to hold fast to Him - what more good would we do in the world.
   I believe you can only really love someone if you know them. As has been mentioned several times in classes at church - God created us so that he could get to know us and love us, so that we could get to know and love Him through His creation. God wants a relationship with us, as He is the epitome of it Himself - the Father, the Son AND the Holy Spirit; as a man is a father, son and brother. (Another note from The Shack - read it people!) Jesus came so that we might know him: 
Isaiah 43:10You are my witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.’
John 17:3Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
   I find so much encouragement from getting to know others. It is fun and exciting to start new friendships, it broadens my mind and my heart at the same time, and I feel comforted in knowing there is someone smiling because of me.
   The next time you are somewhere new I implore you to talk to someone you don’t know. Think of 5 questions, silly or not, and ask them. For example - if you could only eat 3 types of food for the rest of your life, what would they be? For those of you curious enough - mine would be Veggie Pizza, Chocolate Hobnobs and Raspberry Sorbet! Yes, it a cheesy ice-breaker, but maybe some global warming would do the world some good.

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