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The Power of Connection

I’ve been thinking this past week about connection. During Covid, it’s especially true that you don’t realize how much you miss a thing when it’s no longer so easily there.

Like friendship. Covid has magnified my love of and need for “drip system” friendship (a nod to David A. Bednar’s testimony analogy).

Not a big tidal wave, but a steady yet varied drip of love and laughter, understanding and support.

The power of this is compelling.

Like this past week. An inspiring, soul-bearing lunch with a friend. A joyful, humor-filled dinner with my adult son. Baking, laughing, and watching a Christmas show with my daughters. Helping my son and his buddies “build” gingerbread houses (read: do “artististic license” with cookie pieces and eat the sprinkles and frosting…)

These are the small but crucial things to being happy and fulfilled. And, I’ve been reminded that this set up is purposeful.

Yesterday I read this fabulous talk by Sharon Eubank about friendship, and she nailed it:

“I really believe the people in our circle are mostly a divine gift. There may be a few…that are kind of thrown in for spice, but I believe that the Lord puts us in proximity on purpose. We can’t dismiss the people in our circles.”

[“Lay Aside the Things of This World and Seek for Things of a Better,” April 2012]

Proximity on purpose. Who is in our circle? And for what reason? Even, and most especially, right now?

She adds this from C.S. Lewis: “The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating good taste in finding one another out. [But] it is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”

And I would add, of ourselves. Friendship is such a catalyst to change. People who love and know us, who truly want the best for us, can change our hearts and souls in an instant simply because of their love.

I look back over the many years and despite ever-changing situations in who my parents were and what that looked like, God has sent and continues to send me incredible friends.

Evelyn in Canada who sat daily with a very lonely me in the elementary school lunchroom and shared her prized Nutella sandwich.

Ann in Oregon who lived her values as a Lutheran and helped me through awkward high school years. Judi and then the “BYU Babes” in college who for about 30 years have gone through PJ chats, 3-hour lunches, and frantic phone calls to get me through motherhood. Angela, Wendi, Ingrid, LeMira, Teri, Michelle, the list goes on and on of those who in the last 20 years have added emotional drops of gold to my life.

Friends who change me just by being who they are, and being there for me.

That is Christ. He changes me constantly simply by being who He is, and loving me the way He does, each and every minute. I love this testimony from Sister Eubank:

“I can testify that the Lord loves each one of us in all of our quirkiness. He listens to us more intently than anybody else in our lives. He never tires of us. He always wants us around Him…He waits with longsuffering to build us, to guide us, to heal us, to tell us the things that we need to know. He is our greatest friend. And we turn around and give those same gifts to others..then we become the friends of God.”

Friends of God. Friends of Christ. Friends to each other.

That is purposeful.

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