When I came to this country as a young woman of 22 quite a few years ago, I started to go to church and made friends with some older adults. We played softball together, had picnics and birthday parties. We called each other, worshiped together and were involved in each other’s everyday life.
I looked up to them. They seem to have it all together. I hung on their every word. Believed it all. If only I could be like them… They were my example. I respected and loved them. And I was so thankful that I could call them my friends.
I have traveled the road of life with them for the last 30-some years. Together, we lived through lots of good times, some bad ones, a few ugly ones, and a handful of really ugly ones. I watched and learned much from them as we muddled through unexpected circumstances together. I saw them rise up on some occasions, standing tall and strong. I also saw them almost break under the pressures of difficulties.
Almost. They are still there. They made it. Through sweet sailings and nasty storms.
And I made it. Through sweet sailings and nasty storms.
I’m all grown-up now. Or almost, at fifty-two. And these same older adult are still in my life. But things have changed.
I no longer hang on their every word; I have learned to gauge what I hear against the Word of God rather than people. I no longer look up to them; I now understand that they never had it all together, but they were just like me, filled with insecurities and skewed views at times. I no longer wish to be like them; I now see that our uniqueness makes us precious.
We are on level ground.
But one thing hasn’t changed: they are still my example. 30-some years later, they still worship, pray and serve God. 30-some years later, they still don’t compromise. 30-some years later, their hearts still yearn for God.
And 30-some years later, I respect and love them. And I am so thankful that I can call them my friends.