Sharing with a New Friend (#BestOf)

Sharing with a New Friend (#BestOf)

Posted on August 17, 2014 by chaplaineliza

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, August 13, 2016

It’s always good to remember a good friend. The friend I mention below is now in a different apartment, in a different town, but still my good friend. And, I hope in a much better situation, all the way around. God willing, I pray wonderful things are ahead for my friend and her family.

friendship you do stuff

A Year of Being Kind blog – Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sharing with a New Friend

I made a new friend today! We live in different states, and had never met in our lives before today. But, I really feel we made a connection.

The two of us spent some time talking, and we weren’t satisfied with peripheral or superficial nonsense. We didn’t even begin with banalities, but instead immediately started to communicate on a deep level. Like we had known each other for some time. (Again, so satisfying!)

In my new position, I don’t have many opportunities to meet friends. I mean, good friends, who I can truly talk to. I appreciate people who are friendly and kind, of course! And so many people I’ve met in the past several months are that way. It’s truly a blessing. I mean that. But—I am a pastor. I serve as a minister. Right off the bat, that causes some separation. I need to maintain some professional, objective distance in my position, while at the same time being appropriately empathetic and understanding.

My many months in chaplain internship (Clinical Pastoral Education) have reinforced that, to be sure. Yes, I can come alongside people who are hurting, and try to be a comfort, support and encouragement. Chaplain internship has sharpened my skills at journeying with people as they are in trouble—either in terms of poor health, other kinds of crisis, emotional or spiritual upset.

It’s a good thing I have some friends from the years before I became a pastor. It can be lonely, even though I do have several long-term friends I can take the liberty of calling at pretty much any time. But these few long-term friends are not always available. (They lead busy lives, too!)

Of course, I try to be of service when I can. This fulfills me, nurtures me. It’s true that I am trying to follow the suggestions made in Micah 6:8 this month. “Live justly, love mercy, walk humbly with our God.” Just like when I took a senior acquaintance to the hospital for an outpatient procedure, earlier this week. Just like when I made reminder calls to several people for an upcoming activity. But I would sincerely like some kind of intimate connection—like that of having a good friend.

So, finding another friend is always a welcome thing. Yay! Thanks, God. You know what I wanted even before I formulated the thought. And, I just might be the answer to prayer for my new friend, too. Again, thanks, God!


(Suggestion: visit me at my blog: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers– where I am doing a PEACE journey through Eastertide and beyond. #PursuePEACE. Pursuing Peace – Thanks!)

(also published at .   @chaplaineliza And read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er – Thanks!)

Compliments—How Kind! (Thank You!)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, September 17, 2014

GRATEFUL always something to be grateful for

Compliments—How Kind! (Thank You!)

Today was Wednesday, as usual. I mean, usual midweek bible study. I enjoy teaching! I love the bible study group that gathers each week in the choir room at church. And, I am so glad I found the bible study on the names and titles of Jesus (an older study, published by NavPress).

I missed meeting for regular bible studies midweek, in July and August. Of course I understood why the group did not continue meeting over the really hot months of the summer. Certainly! But, there was something missing from my week. Some connection, some personal interaction. Sure, I continued to call people, and do hospital and home visitation, but it wasn’t the same. Not like getting together and sharing like we do on Wednesdays. (And Sundays, too! I don’t want to forget about the wonderful sermon discussion bible study after church service. Such great insights there, as well!)

But this post is specifically about what happened today.

As we went around the table to check in with people and see what was happening, we came to the next person. This lovely senior began to sincerely compliment me. I had served her family at a critical time recently, and she wanted to thank me and tell me how much she appreciated me. Publicly. I was so grateful—and surprised and pleased, too. I told her of my gratitude and expressed my thanks to her.

Several more people had their turns, then. We heard several more prayer requests, had a few more laughs, and—came to another earnest senior. This lady also praised me—for my teaching and group facilitation, this time. (I know I enjoy teaching, but—wow!) She sincerely complimented me, thanked me, and expressed her appreciation for my clarity in communication. (Again—wow!)

You could have knocked me over with a feather. Of course, I thanked her and accepted the compliment, too. I was—and still am—so moved by both of their grateful expressions. So wonderful! I am still hugging these very kind words to my heart, believe me. Such good words of approval encourage me and build me up, you can count on that.

Long ago, I remember reading in an article (I believe it was in Psychology Today) that compliments create positive energy. I am used to giving compliments. In fact, I love to see the good aspects of people, and mention that to them. I am less used to receiving compliments.

I sincerely hope I was gracious in receiving the kind, generous compliments today! Sure, they created positive, loving energy, all around the table. Such a wonderful gift for the whole bible study today, too. God willing, I hope this good feeling and positive energy lasts for a good long time. (Thank You again, God!)


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Showing Love? Listen! Encourage!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, February 16, 2014

LOVE we love 1 John

Showing Love? Listen! Encourage!

I met someone new today. Nothing out of the ordinary. What I did and how I acted after I met her was.

Today was the typical weekend day, not terribly busy, but with enough to do to keep me occupied. Church, errands, going with my daughter to a store.  I happened to meet two other women (one I knew), and a third came up to us a minute or two later. So there we were. The woman I hadn’t met before had just begun a detailed explanation of a difficulty she had. It was an intricate problem, and the three of us stood there, listening. Fascinated.

I could see how my new friend got animated, just by sharing her difficulty. Puzzling, and problematic, too. The other three women (me and my two friends) encouraged her. We were a receptive audience, nodding and letting her know we followed the many-layered story.  She apologized several times for bending our ears, but we reassured her that it was all right.

As I listened, I felt myself accessing my chaplainly skills. Something reminded me of situations with people in a chaplain situation. I knew I wasn’t in that particular, official role for that woman, but I could feel my active listening skills coming into play. I knew the ministry of presence was surrounding us, too. I could sense those spiritual tools right there inside me—ready, set, go!

I’m reminded of a passage of Scripture, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: “the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.” I saw the principle expressed in this verse shown by example today. As the four of us stood there, listening and talking, we had in common the consolation of God. Even as my new friend was afflicted by a serious, intricate, ongoing difficulty, all of us were able to share the consolation with which God has consoled each of us.

As my new friend finished relating her difficult story, I stepped closer to her. She took a deep breath and smiled at me with some relief. “I hadn’t realized how much I was holding inside.” She felt so much lighter after unburdening herself. I returned her smile and told her I was coordinator for an intercessory prayer ministry at my church. I asked whether we might pray for her, but she was hesitant to accept prayer—at first. I assured her that the prayer ministry would be happy to pray for her for four weeks, for her encouragement and comfort. That struck a chord. She nodded with gratitude, and thanked me. Then she apologized again, but had to leave. Her whole air and attitude seemed lighter as we said good bye.

I said only a few words to my new friend, but I listened, and encouraged her.  And, we all shared in God’s consolation. Thank God we can be there, for one another. I’m thankful God is there for me, too.