Saturday, April 14, 2018

Friends for the Long Journey

The video above is the full version of a Ted Talk excerpt that was posted on my facebook page. The piece below was something I wrote this morning as a comment on that post.

*Whether* I live a long time isn't the most important thing. Doing what I can do to *prolong* my life on this earth in this body isn't what I think about, for example, when I posted, last month, about "planning" to live until 105. My mom and dad are 90ish and the plain fact is that I enjoy doing things that keep me relatively strong and healthy... so I think it's just a _fact_ that I will probably live a long time on this earth in this body. Of course I'm aware that things might change, and, as someone who believes that Jesus has my life in his hands, I know I'm not in control. But, the fact is that all of us can do things to make our later lives better...

As I look at Susan Pinker's list, many of the things she lists as predictors of long life are actually things that will increase the quality of our lives, and will allow us to be strong enough to bless others as we move up through the years. Some of those things we can do on our own or with professional help. Social integration, as she describes it, having lots of everyday interactions with other people -- that's something we can make happen by choosing to live or work in the hubbub of human society. _Close_ relationships, however, are different. That's something we need one another to maintain.

The challenge, as we move along in years, is to not allow past difficulties in relationships to isolate us. Staying in touch, working through challenges, continuing to value people who we find out are different than ourselves, and being able to live with some ambiguity in how we "are" together is key, I believe, to keeping having long term "close relationships" with family and old friends.

Jesus can help us with that. One of the sweetest scenes of the Bible is the reunion of Jesus with his failed disciples after his resurrection. He didn't toss his friends out because they failed. He kept them, both women and men, valuing them and blessing them. I want to do everything I can to do the same with you
, and I hope you'll do the same with me. I have failed and need forgiveness just like you.

It's hard when we live all over the world. Some of our relationships will always be at a distance, sad to say. Even living on the other side of cities or counties can mean we're not going to see each other often, even for years at a time. Still, we can open our hearts and our doors to one another, and do what we can to not shrink back from relationships because they are not as comfortable as they used to be. I think that's part of what we can do together to be as strong and as full of blessing as we can do as long as we live.

Just how this will work out for each of us isn't something any of us can know for anyone else, but I know one thing I believe is good for me is to reach out to others, even at a distance, especially to those who have been significant to us at various times. We never know how the others will react, of course, and there's always the possibility that you or I have hopes for the friendship that won't be attained. That's unavoidable, IMO, if we are going to avoid being isolated as the years go by.

Peace to you in Jesus' name.

No comments:

Post a Comment