“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the world. For God, whom I serve with my spirit by announcing the gospel of his Son, is my witness that without ceasing I remember you always in my prayers, asking that by God’s will I may somehow at last succeed in coming to you. For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you — or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as I have among the rest of the Gentiles. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish — hence my eagerness to proclaim the gospel to you also who are in Rome.”
I am currently re-reading a book called “This Odd and Wondrous Calling” by Lillian Daniel and Martin Copenhaver. I am loving this book all over again. I will be doing a book study for clergy on it in April at Alton L Collins Retreat Center. If you are interested sign up! Anyway, enough of the shameless plug. I was reading Daniel’s chapter on friendship. She realizes that if you are friends with someone in the parish its not quite the same although it’s bound to happen. THere need to be set boundaries. This has been my experience with friends in the church. She also has realized that you need a whole other set of friends…those who are not in your church and not clergy and those who are colleagues that you can just go to.
Yesterday I had a wonderful time catching up with lots of friends who are not clergy, not in my church, and just friends that I adore. Then this morning as I hopped on facebook two of my dearest friends who are clergy in other locations hopped on to chat. What a lovely way to start the week! I do admit that having this kind of support is vital in my ministry and in my quest to be a good human being in the world.
I am also reminded of dear friends I have lost track of or need to reconnect to. I recently have tried to send out emails or give phonecalls to a few of these friends. As I read more and learn more and reflect more, I want to connect more as well.
I remember a dear friend who, two years ago, decided that for Lent she would take on writing a letter a day to a different person in her circle each day. It might be a letter to her mom one day and a friend the next and the next day might be someone to reconnect too. What a great way to reconnect during the season! Plus, when we remember to take the time for relationships, it also clears time to reflect on ourselves. So when I opened Paul’s letter to the Romans today I couldn’t help but relate to giving thanks to those who he was writing to. Give thanks to God for those folks!
Do you have a dear friend that you would like to reconnect to this season? Who is your support system? Can you tell them that? Do you need to find more support somewhere? This might be just the day to start!