Opening the cedar hope chest, the faint fragrance of pine greets me as I reach down and gather into my arms an old but cherished quilt my grandmother made when I was young. Walking to the couch I wrap it around my shoulders and lift coffee, hot and sweet, to my lips and watch the sun rising through the pine trees.
Fuchsia and coral stretches up as if rising from their slumber, and chase away the last remnants of the night. As I stare at the morning sky, my thoughts wander back a few years to a time when I lost some of my community of friends.
Loosing community happens to people sometimes. The job transfers you to a new area, or you marry, or graduate, or sometimes a difference of opinion can drive friends apart.
My stare drops down to the quilt, and my finger traces the different shapes of jewel tones sewn together; each square of fabric is a story. A cotton plaid that was once my daddy’s work shirt, a poke-a-dot piece from dress my mother made for me, a shred of thermal from a blanket that was literally loved to pieces. Each section of fabric is a different color, texture and shape, then thread to needle, it is sewn together on the underside where no one can see and it becomes one.
This is how it is in a community of women – different shapes and colors come together, blue and orange, triangles and circles, and somehow it fits – it works. You see it in blogging communities, one woman answering another, “ Yeah, Me too, I’ve been through that.” Posting a comment of applause or encouragement on the blog of a stranger, and then realizing the two of you live within driving distance from each other. And with each conversation the hand of the master quilter stitches two hearts together in friendship that is soft and gentle as silk and strong as three-ply thread.
Touching a patch of silk from a wedding dress, I think, “Each person is different, each person has a story, and when people share their stories with others a thread that is never seen, begins to weave them together.”
Sometimes, despite the our winning personalities, the pairing of people has nothing to do with our ability to make friends, but the Lord who is creating a pattern of people in our lives that accomplish His will, and prepare us for things to come, as well as giving us kindred spirit as company along the way.
I pull the quilt tighter around my shoulders shielding myself from the cold of the early morning, sip my coffee, and open my Bible.
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT)
Real Friendship, and community is not something that can be earned, it is a gift, an inspiration from the Spirit, because it is a refection of Christ’s love for us, and His love of having a relationship with us. And we are to give friendship to others in a similar way, not waiting for them to earn our friendship, or trying to earn theirs, but loving others as Christ loves us – freely, openly, willing to be hurt, knowing that wounding has happened before and can happen again, and still stepping forward with arms flung wide open, and saying, “Welcome, come in I want to hear your story!”