broken but not crushed

Helping each other live successfully and abundantly in the face of brokenness.

Location: Columbus, Central Ohio, United States

Saturday, June 17, 2006

You are not alone - the incredible value of friends

Hello there, fellow travelers,

I have been reading your responses in the many emails, blog comments, and even a few telephone calls and I have discovered one giant, glaring, nearly overwhelming truth – I have, over the years, made some pretty incredible friends. Some would say that it’s because I’ve been pretty friendly myself, and there might be some truth to that since I just plain love people. But I am the recipient of so much love and friendship that it must have something to do with YOU as well.

I confess, the temptation at this point is to start naming names. In fact, this is the fourth or fifth version of this article because I have succumbed to the temptation in the first several drafts. The first draft just flowed – but when I began to approach 50 names and the list was only getting started I realized that not even I would read something like that – except to find out if MY name had made the list. Oh come on, be honest, the thought crossed your mind too, didn’t it?

But there is a greater truth here. It is my friends – starting with my wife Susie (yes, I did name one name – sorry, couldn’t help myself) and then dozens of good people (and you know who you are) – that have brought about my emotional healing. I can hear some of my Christian friends telling me that it was God, first, who was my help in time of trouble, and I agree. But let’s be real here, it was my friends who prayed for me, who wept with me, who sat with me, who visited me in the hospital, who helped me up and down the stairs and who even built the ramp that made it possible to come home. It was my friends who were the hands, feet, and mouth of God during my darkest days.

Truth be told, there is a two month period of time, right after the intensive drug treatment at the Cleveland Clinic that probably saved my life, when I don’t remember very much of anything. Between October and Christmas everything is a blur. I kept a journal in my laptop and there are pages and pages of gibberish – I knew what I was writing at the time, but it sure made no sense in the light of day. But hear me well - the one thing I DO remember are the visits from Bill & Donna, and Fred & Gigi, and Terry & Sandi, and a few others who refused to allow me to slip into oblivion but held me up emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It was my friends who made those unselfish investments in a broken guy they loved. I will be forever grateful! I am able to help others today because of their love and commitment to me when I needed it the most. Yea, I named a few names – hey, it’s my blog, isn’t it?

Which brings us to the point of today’s installment. It is my guess that most of you find yourselves in one of two places today - either you are hurting and alone and in serious need of a friend; or you have healed or are healing pretty well – at least emotionally - from your own personal brokenness and you can be a friend.

If you are in the first category, allow me to be your friend, at least from a distance. I can assure you that, no matter how you feel, even if you feel like you are all alone, know that you are never alone. I serve a God whose Word says simply “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. And having served the Lord for over 45 years and having been in desperate need of help myself, I can guarantee with certainty that what God says He will do, He does. You can take it to the bank!

Also, take a look around. Most of us have invested ourselves in people through the years and it is likely some of them would be willing to return the favor if they only knew you needed them. Push your pride to the back for just a short while and reach out for help, and it is my hope that in your own circle of friends you will find it. In the Bible, in Proverbs 18:24, it says that “if a man wants to have friends he must BE friendly” (PDV – that is, Pastor Dwight’s Version). Please don’t expect people to instinctively know you are hurting – I can’t read minds and neither can you. But people DO respond to sincere calls for help.

On the other hand, if you have healed, or are doing pretty well – at least in the area of emotional healing - then it is crucial that you make yourself available to someone who is not so far up the road. There are some cliffs that are simply impossible to climb without someone letting down a rope and helping to pull you up. Sometimes we are at the bottom needing the rope, and sometimes we are at the top and can let down the rope. Choose to become unselfish, choose compassion, choose friends and stick by them through thick or thin. Look for someone you can help and do it on purpose. It is my belief that you will never make a wiser investment than the investment you make in a friend.

I will never be able to repay the debt of gratitude I have for my friends and their love for me. But then again, they never asked to be repaid, only that I be their friend – and I am!

Till next time,


Anonymous Coy said...

You know, I couldn't agree more that friends really do make those dark and scary parts of the journey navigable. I have recently gone through a variety of experiences that have left me broken emotionally and spiritually. Papa Dwight knows me very well and he knows that I tend to over-think and overanalyze things and in this particular situation, that was one of the problems that made my broken condition even worse.
When it all started, I called my best friend and told him what was going on. Without thinking about it he told me to call him any time I needed to talk and impressed upon me that he truly meant what he said, anytime.
Well, when I started thinking too much about something that I had chosen to accept and overcome, I would call Steven. Day or night, working, on a date, or sleeping, he answered his phone and he talked me through the tough spots. I would not have been able to make it through that stage of my life and development if it weren't for my true friends and the spiritual support that came from my Eternal Father by way of His word.
Now that I find myself emerging from that dark forest path of self-doubt and crippling fear, Steven's life is calming down again and I am more able to be the friend that he needs.
I wish I had been able to be there to support you, Papa Dwight, in your time of need and I know that you understand what I was doing at the time, but I count you among my dearest friends and I have often looked to you as a surrogate father and your time of personal tribulation broke my heart to hear about from a distance.
I feel that God has blessed you in this work, Papa Dwight and I look forward to the mighty things that will hopefully be accomplished in people's lives because of it.


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