Category Archives: Friendship

What Kind of Love is This?

How I Met Your Father: Part One

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Last night my son asked me if I had ever loved anyone before his dad. He just turned eleven and these kinds of things are beginning to occur to him. I told him, that yes I had—but not in the way that I love his dad. It brought to mind the realities of true love.

For the first time, I wished I could use the intricacies of the Greek language to explain the various kinds of love we can feel, but maybe we do have it right in the English language. Maybe there is only one kind of true love—the only kind worth labeling as such. In either language, though, the various kinds are easily distinguished.

My husband, Patrick, isn’t a man of deeply expressed passions, but he is capable of the truest kind of love I have ever experienced. He is fiercely loyal and capable of both enduring and sacrificial love.

When I first met Patrick, it must have been right about the time his former wife left him to have a relationship with her supervisor at work. We had become friends through work and I learned details of his personal life here and there as I got to know him. It may have been Patrick’s treatment of his unfaithful wife that caught my attention first. He handled it all in such a respectable manner. During their one-year separation, while she dated her boss, he remained faithful and gave her every chance to return to their marriage. He waited patiently until she initiated divorce proceedings.

Love is patient, love is kind. 1 Corinthians 13:4a

Meanwhile a friendship had formed between us and we realized we had several interests in common—photography, scuba diving and kayaking to name a few.

Now—I must confess—Patrick wasn’t the kind of man that would have caught my eye in the past. I had many years of responding to vain, cocky, shallow types in my many years of dating before I learned how to look deeper. Patrick was an understated handsome minus the attitude—the kind that you can truly appreciate only by peeling back the layers. And, thankfully, there were enough layers to occupy my thirty-something, I’ve-grown-blasé-about-dating self.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4b

I always enjoyed boating and had done so often in dating relationships—both power and sail. So when Patrick asked me at work one day if I would like to see his new boat—well, I had the been-there-done-that attitude already forming at the back of my mind. Hmm, I thought, but he melted my inner sarcasm with a shy smile, and I took the bait. Okay, I said, wondering where I would have to go to see it. Was he asking me on a date?

Maybe not. He asked me to follow him. Here at work? Okay, that increased my curiosity. I followed him to the parking lot, and there, on top of his truck was a brand new double kayak.

Now, I’ve committed to not droning on more than 500 words or so and this story will become a bit longer than any blog entry should be. If you would like to hear how Patrick melted my heart some more, tune in tomorrow …

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. I Corinthians 13:1-3

How did you first discover true love?
Leave comments—I LOVE A GOOD LOVE STORY!!

Patrick took this photo while we were kayaking and dating back in 1999. As you can see from the expression on my face, I was concentrating very hard on getting my little kayak through the big maze of mangroves.

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A Triple Braided Cord

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I have loner tendencies. I have since I was a kid. Even as a preschooler, I’d find little hiding places in the house, ferret away some art supplies and have some creative alone time. As an adult, that is pretty much still my inclination. That’s not to say that I don’t like people. I do. But—my sanity and creativity is grounded in my alone time.

I value my friendships, but my friends—knowing my tendencies—often need to drag me out of the house to be social. When I get out in the world, I always have fun. I just don’t seek out social situations on my own very often. Knowing this weakness in my character, I have to be conscious of my friendship skills. When I make an effort, I am a devoted friend, but I can sometimes fall into times of friendship neglect if I am not careful. What I need to do more often is make a concerted effort. By definition, I can’t make a “concerted effort” alone. I can only work “in concert” with others.

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)

That convicts me. My loner tendencies could land me “in real trouble.” Alone, I could be attacked and defeated—even broken. When we are united, we find warmth and comfort.

From the time of Eve’s creation, humans were designed to interact and relate to each other. In Genesis 2:18, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” We need to interact with other Christians to encourage and be encouraged.

There is certainly nothing wrong with a desire for solitude. It can be just as important as being relational. The key, as in most things, is to find the right balance. Without that balance, we risk being too self-focused.

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. Proverbs 18:1

So, dear friends, I renew my effort to be a better companion and to draw strength from my relationships with you. I will do my best to act on my love for you more often. Together, we are a force to be reckoned with. We are a triple-braided cord.

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18 (NIV)

How do you find balance in your friendships?