Thursday, April 08, 2010

Things Hard Won

By Belinda

We sang, wrestled with beat, rhythm, harmony and key. With every attempt our voices grew stronger, more confident, the sound more harmonious. In the end we fancied a distinct likeness to the 70's pop group ABBA. Well, we had been at practice for an hour and a half by then; perhaps we were delusional--or maybe we just really, really sounded good.

We spilled out of the church into the coolness of night long fallen. Car doors slammed, assaulting the silence, headlights beamed and motors sped us away to our homes.

As I drove, the result of our efforts made me think about things hard won. 

There are battles in my life I have not yet won. They are testimony to my human frailty, weakness, selfishness, self indulgence, and self deception, but I haven't given up; I am still on the journey.

I have some hard won relationships and those I cherish more than words can fully express.We have wrestled with notes that jarred and wrong keys and practiced our friendships with tears of frustration, misunderstanding, jealousies, anger and hurt. We didn't give up though, because we loved one another.

The prize is true friendship; trust; grace; understanding; acceptance of weakness; and love.

Every time one of my friends graces one of my blurted and too blunt sentences with the words, "But I know you," and we both understand that means the words were interpreted somewhere between mouth and ear, and every time a small thing that shouldn't even hurt, matters, we are leaning into the gift of "hard won" friendship.

We are reaping a harvest from fields dug over, sown with seeds of prayer, long, often painful conversations; and watered with tears of hurt and laughter.

A thing hard won is a very big deal.


Marilyn Yocum said...

Yes it is.
I sometimes forget how hard the winning was and can become too casual....willing to walk away if things get tough. Okay, maybe those are momentary thoughts until I am reminded of the hard winning.

It is soooo easy to think new and unknown fields will be much easier tilling. Rarely true.

Susan said...

People are so quick to give up when the going gets tough... calling it an "unhealthy relationship" at the point when "nice" gives way to a depth where both parties are challenged to change and grow. ALL relationships are unhealthy. We're flawed humans, after all. But working them through and allowing them to be tempered in God's crucible - allowing them to be re-worked as each person is more conformed to his image is something to be valued all right. Iron sharpens iron, and faithful are the wounds of a friend. The emotional cost is high, but the benefits are oh, so worth it.

When a relationship hits a snag, you have to be willing to change. The alternative is to abandon the friendship. Or pull back and protect yourself, which is essentially the same thing. Well, that's not loyalty, that's cowardice - fear of looking into our own hearts and dealing with what's being revealed in there. And it takes go after go after go.

Staying in a friendship, and staying committed to working it through is a committment to being conformed to His image. The Word washes us - it convicts and lights up the path we need to take, but it is in working through our relationships where the tempering comes - where the theory is worked into our lives. It's easy to say the word "grace". But it is only in our relationships that this word truly develops meaning and understanding and becomes a "real thing" in our lives.

Hard won is right. It's so much moe than just a "gift" of friendship. It's a gift that has to be sanded and polished and worked on for a very long time in order to see the true treasure revealed. Those that give up too soon have no idea what they are throwing away...

Dave Hingsburger said...

Mamma Mia! I loved this post. I agree, hard won relationships are the best. People need to 'love through' the differences and 'listen through' the noise. It takes work. It takes concentration. But the rewards are wonderful.

Deidra said...

I agree. It takes work and results make it all worthwhile. I think that idea in I Corinthians - love hopes the best, believes the best - is one of the keys to being able to work it through. When we realize that friends and family really don't intend to hurt or disappoint us, it helps to dig in a bit more, and fight for the reward on the other side.