Sunday, April 22, 2012

All That Glitters...May Be Counterfeit

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I was easing the car down the street so that my best friend could walk along beside me. Reality was closing in around us. We were sobbing. I was moving far away. It just wasn't fair. We had so much left to do and say.

You know when you meet someone and have the feeling that they've always been, and will always be, with you? We laughed at each other without needing a punch line. All I had to do was see her eyes shift in a new direction. I'd follow the silent signal and know without asking what I was supposed to see and why. Most times, it meant one of two things: “Day-LAW! Can you believe what I just saw?” or “Wait! Don't laugh till it's safe!” That's the kind of friends we were. It took less than a year which is all we had.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Fourteen years later, I feel the rupture that tore through my heart as I watched her disappear in the rear view mirror. When I think of her last gift, my tears do just what they did then. They mingle with laughter that overwhelms the tears.

That curtain-of-time lifting breeze brushes across my neck. I feel the car stop one last time. She steps up, lays her hand on the window, and leans in as if daring me to roll it up and drive away. Her 'evil' grin is alight with mischief. “Do me one favor, ya hear? Find that first friend. Make it. Get it over with and move on. 'Cause you and me both know that first friend is gonna be a weirdo you need to get shed of quick as you can!” (In case you wonder, she had been friend #2 that year.)

Pain gave way to momentary glee as we both doubled over in laughter. She had traced my tendency to make fast, first friends with folks who turned out to be rather less than dependable. Double-minded you might say. I was stunned. From the outside looking in, it was as plain as day. Ignorance is bliss till fast made friendships come to disappointing conclusions.

So it was that the phone rang over the next few months, and I would hear the giggle that matched the evil grin. “Made that first friend yet and moved on to number two?” I don't think either of us knew how helpful that insight would be as time moved on. Now that I think of it, she and God both look out for me when it comes to relationships.

In the intervening years, I have sometimes been perplexed by God's soft but insistent tap upon my shoulder. It was if he'd say, “That one there...beware. As good as things look on the outside, not all is as it seems. Beware. Do not pursue that friendship no matter how inviting nor how Godly it may appear. Beware.”

Friady cats do not often 'beware' very well. In fact, when given a choice, we will decide that any social disconnect is because of our own inadequacies. We will deny evidence to the contrary, including the voice of God whispering in our ears. Especially if the social connection represented seems to glitter like gold.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I heard the cautions when they came. Yet, I was loathe to hear and OBEY. In each case, everyone LIKED the person about whom I sensed the caution. I was the only one who seemed to be getting the memo from God. It was high school all over again. I was watching the popular girl who served as the linchpin of the popular crowd. I was not in her crowd. Nothing I could do would get me there either...especially if I obeyed God's quiet voice saying, “Beware.”

If I could just squirm my way into the the fray, my life would glitter like gold as well. If I couldn't, I told myself it was me. I did not glitter nor was I gold. I was a misfit destined to stand on the outside looking in. The only one left to sit and wonder why there was no place for me in that inner circle of fun.

Courtesy M. Horrocks
His caution was never as funny, and always lonelier, than the one my laughter loving friend spoke over me as I left town. With each occasion, the choice to ignore the warning brought pain and confusion because all that glitter was counterfeit. I should have listened. Instead, I hedged my bets and kept on trying to be the girl that glittered just enough to be one of the in-crowd.

It's happened again just recently. This time, however, I did a better job of stepping away in time. Oh, yea. The voice in my head told me what a loser I was and how everyone else but me was having fun. I guess I'm getting older and wiser because I refused to yield to my own insecurities. I put up wobbly boundaries and decided to listen AND obey. The loneliness was razor sharp and never went away.

God doesn't always confirm our decisions – even the hard ones. This time, in his mercy, he did. He let me stumble upon a situation that unveiled my longed for counterfeit glitter in all its cunning, deceptive glory. He reassured me that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways including the ways of friendship.

Courtesy M. Horrocks
What about you, fraidy cat? Does that same voice caution you? Some call it conscience; others call it intuition. Do you discount the voice and choose to believe you are the misfit? Would you sacrifice your soul to fit in even when God's quiet voice says, “Run?” Oh, fraidy cat, may the day come when we hear his voice and understand his caution as easily as we understand the friend who can communicate volumes without ever uttering a word of explanation.

Love you long and strong. Come again soon. All fraidy cats are welcome here, especially those who believe they are the misfits always destined to be on the outside looking in. Welcome home. What took you so long?

Proverbs 23: 6-8 (ESV)
Courtesy B. Creasy
Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words.

Proverbs 26: 24 (NIV)
A malicious man disguises himself with his lips, but in his heart he harbors deceit. 


No comments:

Post a Comment