Monday, June 13, 2011
Another Year Older, Another Pie Eaten
Over the past weekend, I celebrated yet another birthday - will they never end? - and I did it with my family and several of my very best friends. The one dessert that I just had to have was a tart and tangy key lime pie. I made one. It's funny that I would never eat any of the ingredients by themselves (OK, maybe I'd take a few spoons of sweetened condensed milk), but all together, the ingredients turn out to be a heavenly version of summer birthday fun! I love everything from the graham cracker crust to the creamy filling to the tart and slightly bitter bite at the end. Perfection on a plate! But if you gave me a tablespoon of lime zest, I may not be as thrilled. If I had to drink a half cup of lime juice, my mouth would pucker, and my stomach might revolt. I would never pour the egg yolks down my throat...no way. But the end result is so spectacular that I might be able to eat a whole pie!
Three of my friends showed up to celebrate with me. It was a complete surprise. I think it may have been one of my happiest moments ever (so sad Jenny McN wasn't here to join in!). Years ago, I didn't think I needed many friends to be happy and complete. Boy, was I wrong. I had avoided giving my heart away in friendship for some odd reason, but after moving back to North Carolina, I needed to connect with other women - particularly other mothers of small children. The need to feel like I wasn't alone in the trials of marriage and family forced me to pursue relationships with the women around me. I have never been happier.
I think of my pie and how all the ingredients work together so well, and it reminds me of the many facets of friendship. There is the obvious sweetness that comes with friendship - the kind of fellowship that is relaxed and comfortable. That's the part that we all know and love. There is the laughter and joy - kind of like the lime juice that makes our mouths water. This is part of the flavor that keeps us coming back for more. But how about the lime zest and the egg yolks?
Sometimes, we get into places in our lives where we have the tendency to "drift"....we lose focus on the things of God and become wrapped up in entertainment, kids, travel, the stuff of life. In those moments, it is so good to have a friend who can speak into our lives. It only takes a small sentence to bring accountability. For example, "What has God been saying to you lately?" This one sentence can bring us right back around, and a good friend can do it in a way that is non-threatening yet gently reminding of where we should focus. That is the lime zest, isn't it? Very powerful tiny bits that work their wonders. I remember a time when I thought that I could handle an issue in prayer on my own. In a brief moment, I mentioned a little bit to a friend, thinking that the conversation would continue. She stopped right there and began to pray - to intercede - on my behalf. Suddenly, I got it. I understood why we should lean on each other. Her prayers were objective, not at all subject to the thoughts bouncing around in my brain. She had wisdom that didn't get confused with personal thoughts on the matter. She had the authority to pray and speak over me because of the trust that we had given to each other in our friendship. This particular dynamic was a brief but powerful moment in our sweet friendship. What a beautiful ingredient that is often overlooked!
As for the egg yolks, that is the relationship that we have with God. This is the most blessed part of a really good friendship. God binds us together in love. He makes the whole thing set well. He is the one thing that keeps the recipe from falling apart. You could put everything else in the shell and try to bake it, but it just won't work without God. Sure...there are plenty of people out there in the world who have lifelong friendships, but when you understand the depth and flavor of relationships bound with the love of God, why would you want to settle for conversations about parties, fashion, movies, etc? It's all fru fru.... I'd rather have the substance of God.
The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27:9 I love my friends. I am so glad that you are in my life. There is no greater gift than the time we have together. Thank you, my sweet sisters!