Community is a beautiful thing. Real community is there in good times and in bad. They stretch us and encourage us to grow and become better versions of us. They keep us accountable and they hit us with spoons when we do stupid things – normally metaphorically not literally!
I’ve found myself pondering my small group of friends and I found myself feeling sad that I have so few friends in recent days and weeks. I know a lot of people but I’m not sure I have that many friends.
I know this sounds like a sob story and truth be told for much of the time I’ve been pondering my friendships and community I probably have been looking at it as more of a sob story.
However, there’s a but, a big BUT. The friendships that I have, the people who I spend my time with, the people who spend their precious time with me and invest in me are precious and amazing friends.
They are the types of people who I want to help, invest in, build up, encourage but also to challenge to do more, different, less, change and just generally be the best that they can be. I want that because whether verbally or through their actions that what they do for me.
Who goes with you? Who challenges you to be the best person you can be? Who really wants a bunch of yes men around them who pay lip service but not heart service.
Yes my group of friends is small. Yes there are times when I wish I had a bigger pool to pull from (to be less of a burden more than anything) but this group are friends are the perfect group of friends for who I am now and where God would have me go.
I am BEYOND grateful.
Have you come across the idea of bittersweet? The idea is that we need the bitter to grow and to make the sweet, feel sweet.
“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. When life is bitter, say thank you and grow.” Shauna Niequist
It’s hard to imagine being thankful for the experience of a parent dying. In fact, it’s ridiculous to imagine it BUT actually the practice of living a bittersweet life allows you to look at the circumstances around the situation and be thankfully for what it reveals. Friends who are there; cry with you, step up when you just can’t go on, who help in emotional and physical ways, are revealed in the bittersweet of the circumstances. It’s easy to see this in the early days of grief.
What’s taken longer is the bittersweet thankfulness of what God is doing in my mum death in me. God is using the experience, the vulnerability, the passion for keeping her name alive, to grow me as a woman, a mother, a daughter, a wife, a writer, a creative spirit but most importantly a child of God.
When mum suddenly died it was like her light suddenly went out but as I reflect now I see that she leaves behind a legacy of lights in her husband, her children, her friends and family to keep her faith alive. Particularly for me and my husband we are trying to keep her presence real with our boys so that they know the faith Granny Sue had (she was grandma when she was alive but Zac was getting confused with his other grandma!) and how much love she would have shown them!
As I explore what it means to be a part of Mum’s legacy and all God has called me to be I’m praying God will guide my path.
Please understand I’m certainly not saying I am grateful my mum is gone. I miss her daily, sometimes hourly. I miss her part in my adventure and I hate that she is gone. I do not believe she was taken to teach me a lesson or that somehow her death was a positive thing but I have to believe in a God who deals with the bitter and can show me the sweet around it. I’m not sure I explain myself very well on this topic!!