Comrade, I Salute You.

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Once upon a time there were three little girls. Just kidding, they were not little (except for maybe one in her heart). In various moments of recent history, they had all graduated from diverse homeschool educations in diverse countries (basically).

They met up in a neutral zone. In an attic in Poland eating pierogi. (One did not eat pierogi because she is stomachly handicapped.)

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From then on they had many grand adventures which included but were not limited to:

singing their aching, little hearts out
taking shots (vodka/water)
bawling their eyes out in goodbyes–in America, in Ukraine, in Bulgaria, in Hungary, in Poland, in ocean waves, etc (like Nevada, weird).

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a lot of not sleeping
rocking out in a gasping car
praying a lot of things
eating a lot of things. a lot.
sending a lot of emojis
writing a lot of messages, especially during sleeping hours
working on weird projects, especially on deadlines and with ink poisoning…

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feeling lost
feeling like dancing an Irish jig. also, conquering the world, sin, death, the devil.
watching all the dreams puddle around their feet
knowing everything was going to be okay

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knowing more and more that their Father was with them. With us. Each of us. And life was beautiful. Broken, broken…terrifying, wretched, miserable, and, most of all, wonderful.

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Recently, 19 days ago, one of this extraordinary friends got married. I didn’t think I would feel this way, but it was the best day.

I am humbled by her grace, her love, her bravery, her trust in a powerful, faithful God. Not just as she joyfully became a new version of her beautiful self, but in all the other days too.

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I know I only see my little world, but I think it is very few people who are given the deep, overwhelming gift of friendships like these.

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I recently read a blog warning against overly close female friendships. The point may have been a good one: don’t let others define your identity, don’t be crippled in your life by ties, don’t lose sight of God.

But this hardly seems the problem. These seem like cheap friendships, not close ones.

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A solid friend will affect your choices–they should. I am not a free moving entity. I have a lot of wayward moments. I have a lot of bad ideas. I am rough and red and grumpy all over.

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As much as I whine and hide and flail, living with people is good. Sweating alongside others in friendships is good.

I know I have a probably unhealthy phobia to the word “balance,” but why would we say friendships should not be this and that and this? That you must be careful to keep close rein on them?…in essence, don’t let them change you up too much. Be you. Stay focused.

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By all means, be you. Be the saved and beautiful one God calls you. Be focused. Eyes on Jesus.

But this doesn’t come from making sure other things in your life stay in certain okay perimeters. Doesn’t it come from dedicating all things to Christ? From loving and dying and living with Him as our energy and strength? From laboring to make those things, all things and relationships in our life the tiniest bit worthy, sanctified to dedicate to such a Savior?

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This is definitely the scarier route. For me, anyways.

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People hurt you. People mess with your heart. They expose new things to and about your soul. People are uncomfortable.

People make me very uncomfortable.

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Friends make me cry. In all the hardest, but also best ways.

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Comrades make me face myself, and all the icky slitheryness still trying to be part of me. Comrades send me memes telling me to buck up. Comrades make me flash cards when I’m scared and send me anchor drawings and passages of Scripture I don’t understand but need to cling to with all my might.

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Comrades wake me up in the middle of the night to pray with me. Comrades listen to me tell stories about goats that died in my arms when I was a tender youth.

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Comrades tell me separation, death is not natural.

Comrades remind me of what God calls me. And others.

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(Some comrades get me superheroes I don’t know and glue them to my dash. And, yes, this too makes me a better person.)

Comrades hammer me with the Psalms and buy me packs of frozen peas to soothe my broken chin (and/or heart).

 

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Photo cred to Miwaza

God can work in whatever way He wants, but He promised to work through His Spirit and His Spirit is in people that walk around me, pour into me, exhort me to pour myself out.

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There are a thousand ways that the Spirit strengthens us, is with us, grows our faith, but one that I’ve never been able to doubt is how it keeps us from being orphans. In the physical way. There is nowhere I can go where I do not have home.

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God has never put me in a place where someone couldn’t remind me of who I am–wasn’t there to reflect His glory back at me. It’s inescapable even being a reclusive introvert with a book in a tiny airplane!

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Can’t the problem be that our friendships are too shabby, not that they’re too grand?

Yes, I’m partial to the concepts of brotherhood, and comrade has some pretty rotten connotations itself, perhaps…

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But a comrade or brother is not facing me, they are not meeting my needs… Although they may in a certain sense. Catching bullets can be a big need sometimes and people have done it for me in a variety of ways. But it involves trenches and shovels and sleepless nights and days of rain and eating hardtack. At least it did when I played soldier as a kid, and it’s seemed to play out in a similar way in recent years. There is time and meaning to eating smoothies and making memes in the trench, to facing each other and discussing war paint, but it’s not the reason you’re in the same trench.

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Whenever I think, “that sounds like something that is too much,” I want to examine it. Is it too much, or is it simply the wrong direction? Am I just scared and want to keep the world at arms length? These are my problems, definitely not loving too hard or giving too freely.

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I have never loved too much.

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For my easily tired heart, I need people to light fires around and under me showing me what to do, not where to scale back.

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I wish I believed and acted on this stuff. What an incomprehensible gift to have others hold me to it, also hold my hand, my suitcase, my beef gelatin hot chocolate, sometimes my heart that’s trying to get away.

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These extraordinary blessings of comradeship are not limited to the pierogi sisters (we Seeds Three). There are bodies and souls from all over that have challenged, tossed, loved, sweetened, revolutionized my life. Brothers and sisters who have truly shown me what it means to lay one’s life down for their friend.

 

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Is it idealistic, or is there always another option besides a balancing act? What does balance mean when it comes to following Jesus? Is balance really part of the picture?

Is it okay to talk about allegiance? Your First Love? Your reason and energy for all these things that have been added unto us?

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I kind of want to go read some Lewis. I feel like he said some of this and so much more, so perfectly.

…but I still feel like there is even more.