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I Need Them

August 25, 2014

Today I offer a guest post written by a friend of mine, Luci from Canada. I taught summer Bible school in Alberta a few years ago and was lucky enough to stay with Luci and her family. Besides being name twins, she and I discovered many ways in which we are alike–from big plans to dreams of travel to a love for words. She writes:

There are a lot of places you can go today to hear that you need to let go of the negative people in your life and surround yourself with those who are for you, who believe in your dreams and support you. “Life gets easier when you delete the things and people that make it difficult,” says someone named John Reyes.

While this concept has some good in it, it’s not one I’ve chosen to follow. For one thing, if we followed it at our house, we’d probably all be living in separate rooms…or we’d be annihilated! 🙂

I tell my children often that God gave them the parents and the siblings that they have for a reason and that if He put them here, there is a way to work out the hard things and become better people through them.

Because I know that if it weren’t for the people in my family and church and community and facebook page and life in general, I’d be a really unbalanced person, my rough edges shining brightly for the world to see.

I need the people God placed around me.

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She’s quiet and sometimes I think she’s dull. When we’re together, I talk too much and ask too many questions because those moments when nothing is happening in conversation make me feel all twitchy and nervous. But I need her. She’s teaching me lessons about restraint and being okay with quietness. And the more I learn to know her, the more she surprises me with a deep strength and beautiful mystery.

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She is clingy and talkative and rambles on and on. She’s lonely and needs a friend. I can avoid her when I say hello to the nursing home crowd, or I can give her a hug and a listening ear. I need her.

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He’s aggressive and loud. Sometimes his brashness makes my hair bristle with discomfort. He doesn’t have a lot of good to say about the denomination I’ve chosen to be part of. But I need him. He makes me think about the inconsistencies I might otherwise embrace blindly. With him, there are lots of moments to choose to respond like Jesus.

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Her life history isn’t pretty. It’s been a string of difficult experiences and poor decisions, with a failed marriage or two thrown in. She is changeable, but strong and resilient. Life with her in it is a rollercoaster of emotions and I feel pulled in all directions since she came into our lives. But I need her. She’s challenged my lethargy and given me lots of reasons to go to Jesus with her needs and my own.

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He’s got an opinion on everything from how to pronounce words to how to burp a baby. I easily get my back up around him, but he’s often right. And besides, he’s taught me so much about how to share my own advice and opinions. Sometimes the negative you see in someone helps to guide you too.

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I have held them and their teaching at arm’s length with that rebellion I often feel towards people in a position of popularity and authority. “I’m not going to follow the crowd that follows THEM,” I think smugly. But then I pick up a book that they wrote at a time when I am desperate for change in an area of my life where I’ve been living in defeat. And I am convicted and changed. I humbly acknowledge that I need them.

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Sometimes I weary of his tedious way of speaking in church. It’s easy to tune him out. But when I sit up and listen with an open heart, I’m amazed at the insights he has.

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I need them. I need the right wing fundamentalists. I need the lady in the very plain dress who makes me uncomfortable when she gives me the once-over. I need the people who don’t clean the church bathrooms to my specs–or God forbid–forget to clean them at all on the week that it’s their turn. I need the people that don’t have my gift of hospitality to teach me that God has other fantastic gifts for other people and that my burden may not be your burden. I need the child who knows just what frustration buttons to push to get me going. I need the person with what I consider off-the-wall opinions to remind me how my opinions might appear to someone else. I need the person who exudes confidence to the point of seeming proud to teach me that huddling in a corner and feeling bad about my meagre gifts isn’t helping anyone. I need the person who takes over and monopolizes the conversation because in them I see myself.

There are times to distance yourself from people so that you can live at peace with them. But somehow when I let go of trying to control the people and events around me, when I let go of fighting the flow of “difficult” people whose lives intersect with mine, when I let go of my preconceived ideas about who should be part of my life and who can just take a walk out of it, I see people in a new light and learn how interesting and enlightening this world is.

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As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. ~Proverbs 27.17

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*Disclaimer: The people I write of above may be real life or fictional. Don’t even try to find yourself. 🙂 And if you should, believe me when I say that I realize that you could write your own piece on me. Or go ahead and write it. I could publish it on my blog.

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mrs martinLuci is wife to pastor/farmer/sawyer Dan and lives in northern Alberta. She is mom to Alec, Victoria, Bryant, Natalia, Andre and Liesl. She cooks big meals and dreams big dreams, but mostly she kind of muddles along. She loves coral zinnias, clouds, children’s artwork, and people. She used to blog here at http://quiet-hearts.xanga.com/ and now has a dubious blog where she writes occasionally at http://threegreendoors.wordpress.com/.

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