Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Threshing Machine

I'm old enough to remember threshing machines. (Pronounced "thrashing" where I come from.) They pre-date combines by just a few years. A tractor backed up in front of the Great Monster and they would be joined together by a six inch wide belt which delivered the power from the tractor's shiny steel drive wheel to the thresher.. The grain, which had been cut and stooked in the field was gathered up and fed into one end, and out the other, with much shaking and rocking and flying of dust and deafening noises, came the grain clean, stripped of straw and chaff and ready to be milled. As a child, my curiosity would drive me close to the action. I would stand in the barn with my hands over both ears and had great respect, if not raw fear, for the great machine that inflicted such violence on the golden stalks of wheat. When it was all over, and the machine turned off for the day, I remember picking up great handfuls of the golden wheat kernels out of the hopper and letting them fall through my fingers, a cascade of tiny gold nuggets.

Sometimes it's not any easier to maintain authenticity in a relationship than it is for the wheat to go through that threshing machine. It's safer to be "nice", but that's not the kind of friendships I want to have.

I want company on the journey - someone to be my friend, and to be a friend to. Without strings attached and without expectations. I want to be authentic. Absolutely authentic. And if I feel something and I'm afraid it's coming between us, I want to be able to say so, just like I want them to be able say so to me, too. And if we get angry with one another, or things go off-kilter, as they are bound to from time to time in any human relationship, I want to be able to throw the whole friendship into God's threshing machine - no matter how much it hurts at the time - so that the wind of the Holy Spirit can blow the chaff away and so that what comes out is pure gold - pleasing to God and to one another.

I want friends who may not like it - who would? - but at the same time aren't afraid of that threshing machine. Because what comes out the other end, can be the purest gold.

I know.

"Wounds from a friend can be trusted." Proverbs 27:3

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sometimes when you think you are being honest, you can break other peoples hearts, and yet you mean well and want to be truthful.

Susan said...

Yes, that's true.

Sigh.

Speaking the truth in love isn't easy. We may think we are speaking it "in love" but in actual fact it can be the love of self that is pre-eminent and often is. Sometimes when we are least aware of it. And yes, we break one another's hearts. We all do.

But...

Hope springs eternal. Both friends have to choose to be willing to die to their own self interest and self protection. It doesn't always work out for the best, but it CAN. In fact it's the only hope for things to be truly "good" (in God's definition, not ours) as opposed to "nice". Perfection? No, not this side of heaven. But I'm not going to quit aiming for it, either. None of my close friends are perfect, and sometimes we miss this ideal but none of us settle for just "nice", either. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

You have to choose carefully who you are willing to go through the thresher with, because you're rignt. You can get creamed. Sometimes to the point of no recovery. It takes a lot of mutual trust and a very solid bridge of friendship. The stronger the friendship, the more solid the bridge, the bigger threshing machine you can drive over it. And this stuff is for the most trusted and committed of friends. And yes, there's ALWAYS risk...

Belinda said...

"Creamed" eh? Maybe that should have been the butter churner instead of the threshing machine.

Sorry, I just couldn't help myself. Forgive me!

One of your thresher mates...

Susan said...

You can get creamed in the thresher, too. That's when the wheat comes out all mashed and mangled. It happens.

Thank God, he's in the healing business and he can put the mashed and mangled back together. In fact he can do it so the mashed and mangled are BETTER than they would have been without the mashing and mangling.

Thank God.

Anonymous said...

Just like creamed corn eh?

Well when God is in it, we are all better for going through the process.

Enjoyed the posting,

L.L.