Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
There are certain people in your life where you can lay out all that's going on without pretense or preamble. There are no excuses and whether the news is good or bad, they listen without judgement. These people are called friends.
In a conversation with my friend last night, I whined about the upheaval of my plans for this Christmas. Mark is back in Tennessee caring for his aging mother but it was an unexpected trip…necessary, however. I have to admit I didn't respond to the news in a very nice way. In fact, I apologized the next day for my bad behavior. I didn't need to make the situation harder than it already is.
But you know those plans? This is the first year in several where we signed up for various Christmas parties in our neighborhood. Normally choir concerts interfere with the schedule, but this year it was later in the month, so we could go. Now with Mark gone for several days, I decided to go by myself.
Saturday night, as I was getting dressed, I prayed that I would be salt and light. I sat at my assigned table next to my closest neighbor, but we had never met. She watches Mark take Parker for walks, but this week I'm on Parker duty. I noticed them putting up Christmas lights the other day and said the obligatory "hi" but that was it. As we chatted over dinner I heard her amazing story--some of it very painful. I encouraged her to seek hope in her long buried faith and suggested some options.
As I drove home, I thanked God for the opportunity He provided. When we are willing, He does amazing things…one step at a time.