Today I was planning on living life as normal. I hadn’t given out my birth date to anyone, hadn’t mentioned it, had even skirted the issue yesterday at lunch (though Facebook has a way of making things like birthdays pretty obvious). I was going to try not really celebrating it at all this year. I have had small birthday parties, combined birthday parties, but invariably, there’s always some sort of get-together. This time, with the way events fell in my family I was sure that I was going to have a quiet birthday for the first time.
And God laughed.
The awesome thing about friends is that they don’t always take clues well.
I fully expected a decent number of communications on Facebook, text, and perhaps a phone call or two, but I wasn’t expecting an announcement in chapel, at lunch, and then a not-well-kept-secret surprise party tonight. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it was something I’ve not experienced before, so it was cool. Embarrassed the socks off me, but it was cool and it helped me to think through something that I needed to think through.
I don’t deserve my friends.
I doubt anybody ever really does, but it still hit me like a hydroplaning deer. I’ve never been hit by a hydroplaning deer, so I imagine that this is what it would feel like. Oddly, there was no sense of self evaluation or really any self in that thought at all. I am in relationship with a group of people on an individual level, that I have no right to. I always try to be a good friend, but in the end, I don’t really measure up to what a friend should be…and the fact that I can interact with their lives, and they can interact with mine is beautiful.
I have a friend in God. His friendship is deeper than even marriage. We always talk about a marriage or a friendship that will last for eternity, but in reality, marriage is over at death. The emotional attachment to the memory ghost may remain until the other spouse dies, but the ability to interact with that person ceases to exist. Not so with God, Neither of us could ever lose our ability to interact, neither of us really die; God has chosen me, and that leaves the only variable in the equation as my commitment, but even in that, He hasn’t left me alone. I am incapable of maintaining my commitment to God, so he has made a way to keep me in His love through my ups and downs. Our friendship is deeper than the marriage vows and more unchangeable than the atomic number of a water molecule. As a single guy, I can only imagine the depth of commitment and love of a marriage that has made it 50 years. In truth, I can’t comprehend a truly eternal relationship where I have more than the time of the world to get to know my creator who will walk and talk with me in the morning under the oak trees by the river…
But I’ve got great friends and family who can show me a little bit of the magnificence of that kind of relationship, and one day, perhaps I’ll get to share some of that with a wife. With or without a wife though, I have the best in life simply by keeping my relationship with the creator strong.