in KennethBaucum.com, Self-Improvement

I’ve been struggling a bit in the last two years or so trying to figure out why things in life have been changing the way they have. It was like a bomb went off right in the middle of my circle of friends and everyone got blown different directions. Then a bomb went off in my career path, scattering my plans all over the place and leaving behind only a trail of ashes to follow. A bomb went off in my spiritual life, too – sucking up all the oxygen and leaving me breathless.

Bewildered, and with my ears ringing from the blasts, I struggled to cope with the massive changes and to figure out what would be next for me. I started trying to figure it out by myself, but while I love to plan things out ahead of time, this was no subject matter which I could exercise complete control over.

hugFor these last two years, I’ve gained many new acquaintances and several new friends. Several folks I already knew graduated up to “friend” and a few dropped off the list for one reason or another. Overall, it’s been a bit of a roller-coaster of emotions and events, and despite my attempts, it hasn’t magically fixed itself.

I got involved in several community service groups during this period and found some new things to occupy my time, and have found great joy in serving others. I’ve also found the limits of my patience and stretched my tolerance for ignorance to it’s limits. Each test widening the boundary and making me more resilient to the daily grind.

My walk with God hasn’t been all it should be, and I know I haven’t been the salt and light that I’m called to be.  Prayers and meditation have helped, and I live comfortably knowing that God is always listening. I am confident in God’s ability to handle my troubles, but sometimes it’s good to interact with a friend here on the ground. A shoulder to cry on, a neck to hug, a face to smile with, and ears to listen.

Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.

Dinah Craik

The tough part about humans – and believe me, I’m 100% human – is being reliable. I’ve had my share of let-downs and I’ve probably given a few out myself. The one thing I ask of my closest friends is that they be reliable. I know they have other things and other people in their lives, but if I can just count on them being able to respond to a text, or call me back – then I can be at ease in the relationship and in being able to find solace.

However, since we’re all humans, sometimes we stop replying to texts, sometimes we stop calling each other back, sometimes we ignore emails, sometimes we stop meeting at the normal time and the normal place, sometimes we change our entire behavior, or even – our outlook on life. Our patterns stop being reliable.

two-friendsWhat’s crazy is I seem to have a counter-intuitive approach to finding friends. I’m looking for someone reliable, and I find someone who’s a little unstable. I’m looking for someone who can help me, and I find someone who needs help. I want someone to listen to me, and end up being the listener. I want someone to empathize with my pain, and instead I take on other people’s emotional burdens. Maybe it’s a weakness for broken people, maybe it’s just the heart of a servant.

My goal here is not to congratulate myself on being a friend (who knows if it’s even working?), but rather to share with you that everyone is looking for something out of their relationships. Everyone has a goal, a dream, a desire – something they want to achieve through the interaction of themselves with you.

Sometimes I daydream about ways I can fix the world. Sometimes I dream about how to solve problems or how the people around me would be better off if–  Then I stop. It’s not always my job to be the fixer. Sometimes, I’m just supposed to listen. Sometimes, I just need to be present.

A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.

Arnold Glasow

For the people who I speak to often – please help me keep the lines of communication open. I love to hear from you. You mean so much to me and without you, I’m just another stranger.

For those whom I haven’t spoken to in years and those who walked away and didn’t look back – we can rebuild our friendship, but please forgive me if it takes time to rebuild the trust and bond.

Hand ReachingFor those who are strong, share your strength. For those with a heart, share your love. For those with a brain, share your wisdom. For those with hands and feet, do good. For those with mouths, speak kindness. For those with arms, hug your family and friends – maybe even a stranger.

For the rest of you – really for all of us at one point or another – be the friend you want to have. Be the friend you want around when you are having a bad day. Look up, things will come around.

Today is a gift, rejoice and be glad in it. Trials and troubles will come your way, but they don’t stay. This will pass.

 

Love people,

Kenneth