Friends In the End

It was a night for rivalry in Alabama. College football in the deep South is more than a sport. Some say it’s more like a religion, an accurate metaphor for many.

The irony in this rivalry is that, for the majority of us, the team lines are crossed when it comes to friendships and family – you know, the things that truly matter in life. Even players dressed out in uniform and playing hard for their team, will leave the wins and losses on the field when it’s all said and done. (Thank you, Derrick Henry and Tray Matthews, for sharing that genuine moment with the world.)

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This lasting image, along with my own experiences over the weekend, leave me very thankful for friendships and proud of the ones I cultivate these days.

It hasn’t always been so, you see. Through time and trials, I have learned what feeds my soul and makes me a better person. I recognize that not everyone I love is good for me and that it’s best to love those people from a distance. Wishing them well and cheering them on from the outskirts absent of any guilt about it.

If today finds you struggling to hold on, clinging to a relationship (friend, family, lover) that you fight to make work – can I just encourage you to set it down and walk away for a minute. Maybe not forever, but for a season. It’s amazing what distance infused with prayer & mindfulness can bring to a situation. Lay down the burdens you carry and leave the responsibility of the results up to God.

Celebrate the people that add to your life, making it more rich and meaningful with every laugh and heartfelt conversation. Fix your focus on those relationships, God has given them to you in this season for a reason. Give thanks for that (research shows it will make you happier).

 

When There Are No Words

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Syrian refugees fleeing their country.

Tragedy and terrorism in Paris.

Racial tensions rising from sea to shining sea.

Everywhere I turn, fear and hatred echo like resounding thunder. I can’t escape it. It’s like an enveloping fog that I can’t wait to get out of. It’s so heavy that I’m smothering beneath it. Unresponsive. Speechless.

And even though I sit with an open mind respectful to the views of others, the truth is I don’t understand it at all.

Can we talk intelligently about free college education without referring to supporters as entitled brats?

Can we look at the mother swiping her food stamp card in the check-out line without assuming she has no job and just lives to leach off of the back’s of others?

Can we acknowledge that President Obama is the leader of our nation, put our judgements aside and show some respect for a man doing a job that is undeniably one of the most difficult and complicated on earth.

Can we accept that maybe, just maybe, prejudices exist within our comfort zones that perhaps we are not willing to recognize because we are not ready for the responsibility of change that must follow?

Democrats. Republicans. American. Syrian. Conservatives. Liberals. Muslims. Jews. Christians. Are we not all people? Do we not all hurt and bleed and cry the same?

I’m not here to advocate for one point of view over another. I am here to encourage human kindness. Not just to the people who look and speak and think like you do. Think before you put something out there for the world to see. For in the end, what you are saying speaks more to who you are than the people you are talking about.