That pretty much sums it up the last month.
My wife. My daughter. My spirit.
A culmination of unfortunate events over the past several weeks have left my family hurt, tired, and exhausted. Weary. Pretty much any other word related to the Tiresome Family, The Worrisome household, and the Uncertainty bunch. They were all in town needed a place to stay.
Come on in, the couch pulls out. Do not touch my food.
And although I’m trying to make light of an otherwise very serious ordeal (those who know me well know how pure my inappropriateness can be), my life over the past month has been “a series of words that cumulate to feelings and thoughts of gentle sadness.”
What is ‘melancholy’, Alex.
Yet the one word that I particularly found relevant during those trying hours and subsequent days was one that I did not expect to find mostly because I’ve rarely encountered it in my life. This word, at its core nature, its very heart, is scarcely found in today’s world. It can be said that very few- and I mean very few- people actually have the ability to live out its definition.
The word? Genuine.
Although I’ve always known- to some extent- what great friends my wife and I have, I believe my understanding of just how great they are came to fruition over the last few weeks. They defined what it meant to be genuine.
To be earnestly sincere and to be a true definition of what it means to be a friend.
To love without hesitation and to care without expectation.
It was staggering. It was a type of genuineness that I have never truly encountered in my life. You felt, heard, and saw the purity in it.
Sure, there have been times in my life where an “I’m sorry,” here and a “Wow, that must be tough,” there type of reaction was warranted, but the outpouring of love that we received from so many people particularly our close friends was insurmountable. It reassured me of God’s ability to show Himself through His people.
The human race- particularly Christians- aren't completely retarded after all.
So I decided to pick up a dictionary and look up the definition of the word when I got home and, although there are several, one in particular stuck out to me. It defined the word genuine as:
Actually produced by or proceeding from the alleged source or author (i.e., the signature is genuine).
Of course, the cliché’ police showed up, and I began to put two and two together. The conversation in my head went as followed:
Josh #1- Wow, that’s an interesting definition. Why is it so profound?
Josh #2- Because, dork, you’re seeing a metaphor at work.
Josh #1- Ok, slow down with the big words Joe Routhier…
Josh #2- Geez…Believers are supposed to be God’s walking signature. Proof of His love and grace. He is our source and we are his production. Come on moron, it’s not that hard.
But what really struck me about the whole thing is just how poor a signature I really am. I'm a pen almost out of ink. I’m the Kmart of signatures.
It’s like God forgot to use a #2 pencil when he began to bubble me in on the Scantron of life.
Yet, I try. I try to be genuine and caring but realize it's only for the sake of being genuine and caring. I’m selfish at heart. I’m a selfish human being. I'm just a selfish person overall.
And knowing that you’re selfish at heart, while trying to be genuine makes about as much sense as ordering a Diet Coke because you super-sized the fries. It’s just a ruse to make you feel better, but you’re still killing yourself.
But my friends? They get it. Each of them so quick to offer everything they have, not because they want to feel good about themselves, but because they love God. Every Friday night, I see a sincere passion for Him in their lives.
Me? I don’t bother to read because I hate “The Message” transcription of the Bible.
Told you I was selfish.
However, the lessons I’ve learned through this whole ordeal come down to three general ideas. I’ve realized that- a) My wife is a stronger woman than I ever gave her credit for, b) My family and our time together is extremely dear, and c) While genuine people are hard to find, genuine friends are even harder.
Genuine friends are few and far between in world that worships self-promotion. They’re uncommon. They’re scarce.
But I’ve been blessed with some great friends who I can honestly say- and this is a stretch for me to admit- I can trust. I can trust them to be there for my wife. I can trust them with my daughter’s life. I can trust that they’ll be there for my family no matter what. I can just plain trust them.
And that trust, that genuine friendship, is something I wouldn’t trade for the world.
Ok, may a 60 inch flat screen HD TV with surround sound and a premium sports package, but I’m working on that.