Living this military life, finding friends can be difficult. We always find a few good ones, but sometimes it takes us a while.
My husband and I are both introverts. We enjoy having friends, but that whole small talk thing is for the birds. Talk about stress – what in the world do I say anyway? I inevitably come up with something, but it is not necessarily always something worthwhile.
We have been at our present duty station for just over a year now. We do have friends here – I know that was what you wanted to ask. In the past year, we have made some friends and even reconnected with some we knew before. This is a “repeat duty station”–the only repeat we have had. It was nice to see familiar faces and meet new ones.
Just a few weeks ago, though, I had quite the experience. It won’t seem like much to you, but the impact on me was significant and I’ll tell you why . . . at the end.
It was Palm Sunday a few weeks ago and I took my sweet children to church. They love Palm Sunday, especially the Palm leaves. Who doesn’t, right? Prior to entering the Sanctuary, we had the obligatory discussion of “This is not a weapon. You are not to hit anyone with it.” You have all had that talk, I am sure.
In we went. We sat behind a couple we know. They work with AWANA, Vacation Bible School and multiple other places around the Chapel. We had also had dinner with them not a few weeks before at another friend’s house. As we sat down in the pew, I told them we were there and that we would do our best not to hit them with our Palm leaves, but there was no guarantee. They were so gracious and thoughtful. They had raised kids too and knew exactly what we were talking about.
As the Palm leaves swayed during the service, I did not see them flinch once. They are tough. During the sermon, God really comforted my heart. I realized, sitting there attempting to wrangle the Palm leaves, that we had friends. They were sitting right in front of us.
I don’t notice it every time, but I have noticed more lately. In each relationship there is a moment when something happens, and we go from acquaintances to friends. It is such a small thing and yet so big. In a moment when I was wondering if they would ever even talk to us again, God showed His same faithfulness that He has shown so many times before.
He provides those who care for us, help us, challenge us, grow us–love us. He provides them every time, although I have yet to recognize them initially because they are all so very different. He is faithful.
We have those special people at each duty station we have been, folks who would happily take a Palm leaf for us, and still love us afterward. We are blessed for sure, but what He taught me in the pew that day had nothing to do with the sermon, but everything to do with relationship. Our friends do not always look the same. From elementary age kids to senior adults and everything in between, people become a part of our life–and that is a good thing.
God uses those folks to pour into us and us to pour into them. We need them. And as crazy as it sounds, they need us as well. This time, though, I got to witness the moment. The one moment in time when they went from being people we know to people we need. I hope I notice the next time too.