'a true friend prods you to personal growth, stretches you to your full potential. And most amazingly of all, celebrates your successes as if they were his own' - Richard Exley
People are quick to use the line 'misery loves company' but as I've grown up what I realize is that through a rather crazy year of ups and downs I have chosen to be happy with this life I've built and as a result it has been easy to be happy for others. Talking this through with a friend the other day I said it something like this - 'I guess I finally realized that I've grown up this week. Because when I think back on the people who have hurt me most over the years and how hard it use to feel to forgive them now I look back and I hope that the Lord blesses them as much as He's blessed me'.
This is what one might call a breakthrough. The point in your life where you're so happy (not that everything is perfect, by ANY means) that even the malicious motives of other people that have contributed to who you've become and where you are in life can feel like blessings. That you can be thankful for the good and bad circumstances that brought you here and hope the best for those who have hurt you. Breakthrough.
This year has tried my communication skills like no other year before it. I started the year single, living alone, and in a pretty easy role at work. By mid year I was in my first serious relationship since college, living with a roommate, and had taken on a much bigger role at work with more responsibility as I entered my 3rd event season on staff. I remember laughing to my best friend as I said, 'I swear I started this year thinking I was a GOOD communicator and the more I've learned about communicating the more I realize how much more I have left to learn'.
The relationship didn't last, the roommates still going strong, and I survived a crazy event season feeling like I really grew. But most of all I take away from this that growing up is hard! Learning to communicate openly, honestly, and out of love is challenging, even for those of us who are obviously very good at saying alot without really saying what we mean. The gloves came off and the honesty box was entered and I have to say that as tough as it's been - the growth has been worthwhile. I anticipate that like most disciplines, it will get easier the more I practice it. Or at least, I'm hoping.
I'm thankful that the while misery may love company - so does happiness. This is the life I wanted. This is the future I'm building. And I'm excited for the successes of my friends and my foes. I'm thankful for the people who build me up and the people who have forced me to grow stronger.
Oh my oh my...the art of growing up is hard to master.