Foul Weather Friends

Cherry Odelberg, photo credit, Kevin Decker 2010

Today I am contemplating foul weather friends. As might be assumed, foul weather friends are the opposite of fair weather friends.  Fair weather friends are those who love to be around you when all is going well, when everything is fun and good times.  Fair weather friends slink away, run away or hide when life hands you things difficult to bear.

Foul weather friends are the ones who are there for you when things go wrong; relationships sour; the refrigerator is empty. But, are the foul weather friends here for me in the good times?  Do they know how to enjoy life with me, or only how to help?  Do I know how to accept their friendship in good times  or only how to use my need as a magnet for their attention?

I have a few of these foul weather friends.  I know I can go to them when I am desperate and they will shelter me with a shoulder to cry on, they will offer lunch, a listening ear or even a room until I get back on my feet emotionally or financially. They seem to have it all together and they never seem to need me to reciprocate.

But I treat them the same way I treat God. I can’t thank them enough. In fact, it is a little embarrassing how much they have helped me over the years.  I am ashamed I had to ask for help. I don’t want to be a bother, so I try and give them a reprieve from my presence when times are good.  I try to stand on my own two feet until I slip up or something goes wrong again.

What I really want are all-weather friends with a life-time warranty. Is there such a thing?Do I have the resources to afford them?  Am I balanced enough to both give and receive? Do I even know how to be free of every feeling of obligation and debt except the debt of love?

Survive or Thrive? Putting my house in order

Cherry Odelberg, November 2011

The fall weather is beautiful.  It makes me want to set my house in order, get rid of the chaff of a lifetime, prepare for a cozy and uncluttered winter. At the approach of 2012, I made it my goal to live the year as though it was all I had been given, a gift of 365 days to thrive or survive.  I have survived, stabilized, reached a rhythm of contentment where I love my life and am mostly free of worry.  Yet, in the remaining two months, I want to thrive.  There are still things to do, places to go, people to see; even as I tuck everything in for the winter. I want to finish strong. Though it is not baseball season, I would love to knock one out of the park before the year’s end. A home run, a victorious finish, that’s what I want. How about you?  Are you exhausted by the time of year or exhilarated by the time of year? I want to align with Caleb:

Mt Garfield from Holy Cross

Give me this mountain!

‘Tho my sight is gone my vision has not dimmed.

Morrow Lake Trail

Give me this mountain,

And renew my strength to mount on eagles wings.

For I have seen you miracles and I believe your promises,

I have run the race, and in your name I now obtain the prize!

Give me this mountain,

One more thing before I die,

Hermits Rest, Morrow Lake

One more chance to prove your promises,

One more war to wage for right,

One more race to run with you right there by my side.

There’s been fire by night and clouds by day,

Manna eaten along the way,

Dry land where the sea had been,

And water from a rock to meet my need.

Morrow Dam Lake

Give me this mountain!

Tho a valley lies beside it,

And Jordan River bound s the other side.

Give me this mountain!

Let me conquer while the young men stand in awe.

I have lived to see this moment and from the highest peak I’ll cry,

Independence Monument, late summer inversion, 2012

“Give me this mountain!

And in peace;

Let me die!”

Cherry Odelberg 1995  (the irony of this date is not lost on me, I was 40 years old when I wrote these lyrics and first recorded the accompaniment)

Is it easier to do good works than to love?

Something has been niggling in the back of my mind. I have noticed that sometimes it is easier for me to take care of people than to love them.  Is caring for someone the same as loving them? Is it possible to love people and not take care of them?

C.S. Lewis said, “If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness.  But if you had asked almost any of the great Christians of old, he would have replied, Love (The Weight of Glory, circa 1941).”

Given my personality type, I find it easier to self-sacrifice than to love.  Yes, I know it sounds odd, but it is true.  I know how to lay down my life for others.  The question is, do I know how to take up my life and live it as I ought? Do I know how to live with love for others, or is everything I do condescension?

When I care-take and self-sacrifice; am I doing it to control?  To make sure things get done my way?  Or is it an outward action from a heart of love? Such a fine line.