Making the Most of a Disappointing Situation Part 2

friends

This post outlines a simple but powerful revelation about friends. Upon this realization, it completely altered the trajectory of my friendships for the better. It has held true within or without a disappointing situation. During hardship, however, it brings a whole new foundation of value, warmth, healing, and joy. 

Just for a moment, think of the faraway friends whom you miss the most in your life. Can you see their faces? When you consider these friendships, do slideshows of treasured memories and hilarious episodes start to play in your mind? Do they know your history and hold your secrets? Have you seen each other through impossibly difficult situations?

Consider one such friend in particular, and trace back to the very first time you met. What brought you together? Did you work or go to school with one another? Did you live with or near each other? Were you part of the same organization, temple, team, church, or group of friends? What was it that made two strangers forge such a strong friendship?

What would you give to see them right now?
And what more would you give to have them in your everyday life again?

Faraway touch points

In the 80s (cue my permed mullet), AT&T urged all of us to “reach out and touch someone.” It was a metaphorical tagline to promote long distance telephone calls. Today we can defy distance even more profoundly with the advent of advanced technology and social media. Thanks to Skype, FaceTime, Periscope, Blab, and others, we are able to maintain and even initiate friendships that span continents using both audio and video. Emails, texts, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other apps allow us to stay connected throughout our day in a way that only intrudes if chosen. I am a strong advocate for all of these communications and would not be able to connect with so many of you if not for them!

Slightly incongruously, however, has been the familiar refrain that the benefits of person-to-person contact are being usurped by our predominant focus on technology.  There are many articles out now about the importance of literally reaching out and touching someone.

I am a Skype devotee, but honestly, what I wouldn’t give to erase that boundary between us and step right into your screen! There is nothing that can compare to physically sharing the same space with someone.

With regard to that certain someone whom you miss so deeply right now, was there a season of your life when the two of you regularly spent time together in person?

The seasons of friendship

One of the hardest things for me to accept is that oftentimes friendships have seasons. We may find ourselves enjoying daily life in the company of one another, when a twist of plans will change the circumstances of our togetherness. While we can do well to “keep in touch,” the physical separation can be quite grievous.

There is something about consistent, physical camaraderie that can forge bonds of immense depth. Sometimes we don’t even realize it’s happening. When I survey the course of my life thus far, most of my closest friendships were formed in the seemingly unassuming context of everyday circumstances.

It’s not to say that the strongest relationships can’t develop in other ways, however routinely seeing one another can almost effortlessly establish an immovable cornerstone into the foundation of your friendship.

My life changing revelation

Even though my disappointing circumstances may lead me down a path that I would never have chosen, there is a beautifully unique collection of people in my everyday life now whom I would have never met otherwise.

This actually holds true whether or not you’re currently amidst disappointment. Consider today’s distinct landscape. Who are the faces whom you now see regularly?

Who are the people in your schools, in your neighborhood, at the grocery store, and at your workplace? What is the name of that person whom you never talk to in class or that unknown parent of your child’s classmate? Who are the servers at your favorite restaurant, the people who clean your apartment complex and collect your trash, the workers at your dry cleaners, the staff at your medical offices, and the neighbors with whom you don’t interact?

For a moment, choose one of these people whom you see regularly and picture his/her face.

This extraordinary soul..
This uniquely beautiful person who has dreams and scars…

This person.
Whom you see regularly.
But do not know.
Is the one.
Whom someone else in this world.
Misses the most.

There are people in this world who would give ANYTHING to see that person every day.
And you do.

Seeing those around us differently

These faces that we can all too easily pass by every day can actually be an un-mined treasure of friendship.

For some reason, we can often place a veil in between ourselves and others. It’s almost as if that person near us can go unnoticed and is not to be considered for friendship. We keep our neutral faces on when we interact, and we COMPLETELY miss the collection of individually held life experiences, insights, hopes, wonderful memories, and painful circumstances that reside within the soul of that person.

Why in the world do we do that?

Have you ever noticed that smiling at someone will oftentimes surprise you? It’s almost as if you’ve broken through a barrier, and astonishingly that person comes alive in a way that suddenly connects the two of you!

If unbreakable friendships can be formed in the context of routine physical togetherness, why not look for those opportunities now? Perhaps this disappointing situation is not an optimal one, but you would probably never have the chance to meet any of these people otherwise.

Opening yourself up

What would happen if we beheld the “unnoticed” people in our everyday lives differently?

Today’s landscape offers very special opportunities when it comes to friendship.

This is that treasured season in which you are seeing these people in person regularly! It is the gift that we long for so desperately with those that we miss.

WHO is it that we are passing by too quickly?

While not everyone will find a lifelong kinship with every single person in his/her day, our souls will still grow deeper as a result of more authentic interactions marked by our shared humanity.

And who knows?
Your new best friend could be right beside you.

Please share your stories

Do you have stories of unsuspecting or unlikely friendships? Is there someone dear to you whom you would have never met if not for a path that you traveled? I would SO love for you to share your stories with us in the comments.

In this recent climate of increased negativity, let’s revolutionize our world with friendship.

xxo!
Sas

PS.. You know that person whom you brought to mind earlier? The person you miss the most? Why not also give them a call today?  :)

PPS… Writing this post reminds me of one of my all-time favorite life lessons from this previous post.

PPS… If you’d like to know why this blog got started, please check this post. If you haven’t yet said hello on my About Me page, please do! I’d love to know that you stopped by.

16 thoughts on “Making the Most of a Disappointing Situation Part 2

  1. In following your lead, my thoughts go to my college roommate, a stranger who became a lifelong 55 years and counting friend. We share January birthdays, and on the occasion of this past Big 75 celebration, she remarked at the strangeness of being 75 and asked how we should feel. We are both “survivors” who have lost so many dear ones through the years. My reply, “GRATEFUL, ENORMOUSLY GRATEFUL!”
    Thank you for reminding us all to celebrate life, dear Lori.
    Love from Grandma Nancy

    • Oh how I LOVE this story! This is what TRUE friendship really means. It’s funny with age.. I never thought I’d feel this way at mine. I often still feel like I’m much younger, but my body can inform me otherwise. :) I suppose that’s the beauty of a spirit that was meant for eternity. I am so enormously grateful too. YOU teach me how to celebrate life. Thank you for being everyone’s Grandma Nancy. Your love transforms us all.

  2. Always deep. Always profound. Always learning alongside you. And always grateful. I love reading your posts. I can hear your voice. I can see your face. Overwhelmed with this concept.

    • I know I just gushed my heart out to you via Facebook, but truly Kelli, God shows the world the true meaning of unconditional love and friendship so profoundly through you. I love our daily connections, and I am in awe over the things I learn daily from you. I love you so, so much. Happy birthday, my lovely.

  3. You ARE revolutionizing our world with friendship. Thank you for that beauty. Of all Mom’s personality traits, the one I’m so grateful she possessed was being crazy. Crazy enough to help those who didn’t know they needed help (Jake! Jake, over here… Crrrabs. He wants to know if you want to order crrrabs.) Crazy enough to make friends everywhere she went. Crazy enough to laugh for 20 minutes with a telemarketer.

    You most definitely inherited that gene. But the way you use that genetic makeup and weave it into the depths of hearts is pure poetry.

    The friendships that astonished me? Two of whom have commented above. They started out with online Bible studies. But I thank God for the courage and the heart they both have. Because of that, I got to hug Wendy and Jill in person. Now we aren’t just online friends, but real friends. They went the extra mile for genuine, God-authored friendship. Again… true poetry.

    I love you so very much Lor… and Lianney, I didn’t know your middle name is Stephanie! You are so beautiful- inside and out.

    • Oh Noey, you had me completely cracking up over these memories! I actually almost used the crrrrrrabs story in this blog post. There’s so much to learn from mom’s crazy and unabashed interactions with others. YOU embody these beautiful qualities in ways that stun me. At first, I was going to say “except that you’re not crazy.” Then suddenly, a series of images flooded my mind: the puffy jacket incident, the technological nightmare debacle, your attempt at speaking Spanish at the dry cleaners, and the list goes on. So yeah, you have a little bit of crazy in you too.In my mind, that’s the very best attribute you could have acquired from mom. Thank you for always daring to love and for never being afraid to laugh at yourself.

      As for Wendy and Jill, I SO love your friendships with them. Thank you so much for sharing them with me. Sometimes, I forget that I haven’t met them in person yet. I agree with you, what unbelievable GEMS they are!!

      I love you so much, Little Sister. You will always be my everything.

  4. What an amazing perspective shift, my friend, and I love it! Wow!!

    And I do have a story like this. At age 51, I must say, I hesitate to reach out and make new friends. I love my circle of friends and life is busy. To add friends means to add time and commitments. But this past summer, a good friend of mine had a good friend of hers that was moving here. So she asked if I would reach out to her. Without the best of attitudes, I said yes. Well, can I say that I am SO THANKFUL that I did. Yes, for me. But a conversation we had a few weeks ago with this new friend showed me it was even more for her. But I didn’t see the big picture till I read your words today. I have connected my new friend with many of my friends. And we all went out together a few weeks ago. And in the midst of the conversation with us, she said this is what she had in Atlanta and missed so much. She was so grateful to have been included in our group of friends here in Charlotte. God is so good, isn’t He, to connect hearts and know what each needs? Her friendship has become such a gift. We are in Bible study together and her husband coaches a college team here in Charlotte that is considering offering my son a walk on position for their team next year. Something only God can do.

    So, SAS these are wise, wise words you wrote today. Thank you! We do always need to leave our hearts open for more friends … not always for us, but for them. And then, it also will bless us.

    Love you,

    me

    • Oh Wendy, your words fill my spirit in a way that I can’t even describe. Thank you so much for sharing this story, as well as for your beautiful insights.

      I have often pondered the commodity of time when it comes to friendship. It seems that there is never enough time in the day to see and spend time with all those with whom we’d like. Navigating these decisions can get so difficult at times. However, as you’ve presented so graciously here, it really comes down to the ways that God connects us. As we pray for each day, He will most certainly direct our time. I will hold on to this story always. Something only God could do, indeed.

      On a side note, like everyone, I have been SO blessed by your “I Know His Name” study. It feels so amazing to be in fellowship with you and everyone else every morning. I have been learning so much. Thank you endlessly for availing your heart to this endeavor.

      I love you so, so much, my friend.

  5. I met to add this made me think of our pastor’s sermon from last week…he was preaching about the Good Samaritan and asked us a question – “Instead of viewing others as our neighbor, what if we focused on being their neighbor?” Thought provoking indeed and goes along with your words about the people we pass by every day. Thanks again!

  6. Loved this!!! I am so with you on the technology stuff…I’ve been blessed by some of the connections and friendships it’s created and sustained, but do long for the face to face. Sometimes it’s so much easier to send a quick email to a faraway friend in the midst of my day than make plans to really be face to face with my local friends. Don’t need a babysitter to send an email you know?!? That face to face, heart to heart friend is what I’m needing now.

    So you asked about a friend we may have never met…I’ll try to make a long story short. I grew up loving b-ball, played my freshman year in college and then blew out my knee. I was devastated!! I was a church goer, but not a Christ follower at the time. I tried coming back and was with the team my soph. year, but it wasn’t the same. My senior year (97) I met my teacher I was going to student teach with and we talked interests, I mentioned b-ball and she said they were looking for a junior high assistant. I got the job and loved it!! One of the girl’s moms reached out to me as the year went on…she too loved the game and we had a connection. The following year I got a job, but would catch one of their games from time to time, Shelby’s mom always welcomed me back and we enjoyed a chat. At the end of the season she blew out her knee, so periodically I’d send her a card and try to encourage her. At the same time I was sinking deeper and deeper into depression. In Sept. of ’99 Leanne (first time I actually remember knowing her name) sent me a card thanking me for being a bright spot for young people and spoke of God having a reason even for the pain. 2 weeks later, I was ready to take my life and sat to write a final journal entry…of all the things tucked in my journal this card fell out and stopped me. Too many details to share, but a few months later I gave my life to Christ and Leanne and my friendship became more than chats at a b-ball game…in ’09 we actually published a book together about spiritual mother-daughter relationships.

    God can use bad for good and take what we think is good and give us something so much better! Thank you for this little exercise and the memories it brought back. Here’s a hug from afar!

    • Jill, my love. As I think I mentioned to you a couple of different times this week, via other social media connections, your story here has affected me PROFOUNDLY. I have kept your words in my heart throughout each day, marveling over God’s intimacy and over your beauty. I don’t even know how to thank you for sharing your story here.

      If you’re ever so inclined and happen to have the time and space, I would love to hear the detailed version of your story. Maybe we could Skype one day or something. No pressure, whatsoever, I just am so touched by who you are. I can see so clearly that, even amidst such unimaginable pain, God has woven so many stunning qualities in and through you.

      I ache over whatever uninvited difficulties brought you so much pain during those days in 09 and wish so badly that you never had to go through that. Yet, I see that God had you so close and was never going to let you go. Thank you so, so much for sharing your story in such life altering ways. I would so love to hear more about the book that you and Leanne published together. I am so awestruck over the beauty that has emerged from these ashes.

      Jill, I’m so inexpressibly grateful for you in my life. God continues to speak His truths to me through your blog and through our friendship. Love you.

  7. Physical camaraderie, seeing the faces of friends, thinking back to the first moment – I am taking those with me. I do not know how to thank you enough. You have brought me closer to you as a friend, and you have brought back to life friendships I have with people you don’t even know. I hadn’t thought about this in years: I had to have really painful surgery my first year of grad school and someone I didn’t even know approached me and said she would take notes for me, and offered to do anything else I needed to help me when I was ill. I have lost touch with her. She was a dear friend. I can see her face – her face was the first face I saw – and when I thought back to the beginning of the friendship, it was, magically, a scenario in which I was going through serious medical stuff and she offered to help me through it. This is divine, this gift you have, Lori. I am so blessed for you to bring that memory back to me. I have also been thinking A LOT about the importance of physical presence. May we all pause to feel and express our gratitude for those people we are with right now and the people we will see tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. You are absolutely amazing. I’m going to read and reread this blog, because I have so much more to learn from you! Thank you for posting this! I send you all the strength and resilience and moral support I can possibly send you. All my best to you during this difficult time and during easier times to come! Love, Alice

    • Oh Alice, whenever I connect with you, my heart soars. You are such a force of beauty, positivity, encouragement, and compassion in this world. Well, that, and SO much more. I so love this story of you and your friend. I stand in awe of how such an amazing relationship was forged through such a difficult time.

      Every single time you share something with me, I feel like I’m on the edge of my seat. I find myself in the space of wonder and anticipation, because I KNOW that my perspectives will enlarge every single time we connect.I continue to be amazed at the ways in which you see the nuances in situations and the beautiful multi-layers of people. I am a MUCH better person for knowing you. You are a true gem, and I count you amongst my most treasured friends and biggest blessings.

      I love you more than you could ever know. xxo

  8. I don’t know how or when we met we just always were. There is literally no time in the memory of my life that you are not there. I have no idea how old I was before I realized our middle names were not the same simply because we wanted it. You were my first friend in the world and so you defined that word for me. How lucky I am to have such a perfect first friend for surely your first friend is one of the most important firsts you can have. “For some reason, we can often place a veil in between ourselves and others…” This right here. I did this on Sunday to the new girlfriend of a very dear friend of mine because I did not want to share his friendship. And look how much I might miss out on. Thank you for shining a light on our imperfections so that we might learn from them. I will seek out this person and open myself up and see what I discover. That paragraph contains astonishing power. – And finally, this idea that the unknown person who I see every day is someone who is missed the most by someone else. I love this idea. There are people who see Mike every day and cannot possibly realize how much he is missed and how special he is. I will keep this idea in my heart and use these words to look closer at the people I see every day. This was such an amazing post for me and it came at such a perfect time. I was feeling a little low and grappling with the idea that friendships do change and reform in so many different ways and I did not like it one bit. So thank you for opening my eyes to possibility and reminding me to cherish what is both right in front of me and also far away. Friends like you who I will always carry in my memory and my heart even though it may be some time before our paths cross again. I hope you had a lovely birthday Lori Stephanie.

    • Lianne Stephanie…

      This post brought me to my knees.

      I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve tried to respond. I just keep reading your words over and over again.

      First friend.

      Yes.
      You.
      There is no one like you. When I think of all of the people in this world, the fact that somehow God thought it fit to allow me to have you as my best friend and sister will never cease to overwhelm me. I can’t even begin to imagine who I’d be without you and all those wonderful hours upon hours that we spent together. I remember just counting the days until break, so that you could come and stay with us.

      I don’t think I even knew who I was without you.

      Annie, I am so enamored with your heart. Your authenticity strikes me to the core. Even when you were little, you’ve always had a soul that has run beautifully deep. I wish the whole world could see through your eyes.

      Your comments are my treasure. Admittedly, it also makes my heart all the more for our times together.

      Thank you for holding my history and for keeping my secrets safe.

      I love you in a way that I’ve never loved anyone else.

      Always, your first friend,
      lori stephanie

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Newsletter

Since my health issues prevent me from posting regularly, I'd love to send you a notification of new posts. This newsletter also has a few extra thoughts from yours truly. If interested, please enter your information below, then check your inbox for an email to confirm the subscription. My truest thanks, Sase

This information will never be shared for third part