I’ll Be Your Wall

6076879792_800b7d9c5b_zDizziness. Vertigo. An injured foot or leg. Any one of these things can find us reaching out to someone or something for support. I’ve been there before, and I’m sure you have, too.

A friend of mine, in fact, copes day in and day out with a medical condition that makes it challenging for her to walk at times. Not long ago during an outing together, a bad spell struck. The distance to a nearby bench loomed large, but with great effort and the help of the cane she carries for just such times, she managed to make it.

After resting for awhile and taking some medicine to ease the symptoms, she felt ready to attempt the next leg of our journey. I had parked the car as close as to the building as possible, but now it felt miles away. Once again, with concentration and slow steps, she moved forward.

At one point, she paused to regroup and said, “If I just had a wall…” I answered instantly, “I’ll be your wall.” I knew she just needed a steadying influence on her side without the cane. With her characteristic good attitude, she made light of the situation, and I joined in. By the way, no matter what we get ourselves into, it seems we always end up laughing about something. I love that about our friendship.

I was glad to be her wall that day. Happy to be her steadying influence. Heaven knows, she’s been mine time and again. But I guess that’s what friendship is all about, isn’t it?

And let’s not forget, we have another Friend always ready to be our steadying influence, always standing by. Next time a bad spell of discouragement, heartache, or pain strikes you, just turn your thoughts to Him. I bet you’ll hear Him whispering, “Don’t worry. I’ll be your wall…”

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10 KJV

*When has a friend been a wall for you?

*Hope you were blessed by this encore post from Sept. 2009!

*Flickr photo by Jens Rost, Creative Commons License

Friendship Reclaimed

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It’s happened to all of us. We’ve lost touch with a friend at one time or another. We grew up. We moved away. We changed jobs. We changed churches. Or we may have just drifted away. Unhappily, we might have even had a falling out.

Also, life is busy. And let’s face it, friendships take work—work that quite often we can’t find the time for. Effort that sometimes isn’t returned with equal interest.

Anyone have a friendship that needs to be reclaimed? Take a chance. Reach out. The reward may be rich and sweet. You’ll never know unless you try—take it from me. Here’s one of my stories:

Friendship Reclaimed

Second-hand news of an old friend’s distress
Heard amid a restaurant’s clamor,
Chance meeting with a friend in common
Renews the urge to reclaim the past.
The nagging questions come again
The ones I’ve brushed aside before,
Why haven’t we stayed in touch?
How could I let that friendship go?
It’s time now to take a step with bated breath
Time to build a bridge over the years
And hope my friend desires the same.
When first efforts seem to go unheard
A puzzled sadness settles in
Over something precious lost,
Until one day joy is renewed —
Familiar handwriting in the mail.
What seemed lost was not lost at all —
It just needed to be reclaimed.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17

*What are some ways you might try to reclaim a friendship this week?

*I hope this encore post from April 2011 was a blessing to you today!

*The latest issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by RowdyKittens, Creative Commons License

Kicking Off the In-Law Relationship

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If the prospect of meeting your daughter’s future in-laws puts butterflies in your stomach, rest assured you’re not alone. After all, everyone involved wants this new relationship to start on a positive note so a few nerves are to be expected. The key is to diffuse them as much as possible as soon as possible.

Realizing that this particular social anxiety is completely normal is a good first step toward putting yourself—and others as well—at ease. Just think about it. The other relationships—the bride’s and groom’s, yours and your husband’s relationship with the groom, the groom’s family’s with your daughter—have all had time to grow and develop. But the in-laws’ relationships with one another? In many cases, the parents of the happy couple are meeting for the very first time.

If you fall into the category of in-laws-to-be who have never met before, here’s an idea that works especially well for your initial get-together. Meet for lunch or dinner—along with the bride and groom, of course—at a restaurant of the newly-engaged couple’s choosing and enjoy getting to know one another in a casual, neutral setting.

This works for several reasons:

1. No one has to stress over cooking or trying to guess food preferences.

2. No one has to worry about having a clean house.

3. It takes the pressure off of first impressions concerning where you live or how nice your home is.

4. It will limit you to an hour or two together – the perfect amount of time for a first meeting.

5. The setting itself offers conversation starters such as favorite menu items or favorite restaurants, which in turn can lead to chit chat about where you live or places you’ve visited, etc.

1      So, MOB, no need to fear—relax and go with the restaurant idea as you kick off your relationship with your daughter’s future in-laws. Have a few questions in mind to keep the conversation going and enjoy getting to know this new arm of your family. Maybe it will be the start of a beautiful friendship!

*What other ideas work well for an initial meeting? What are some of your favorite conversation starters?

*Flickr photo byqwazymonkey, Creative Commons License