We sat together at kitchen tables, on living room chairs, in restaurants and on park benches. I spent some much-needed and much-cherished time with North Carolina friends and family recently, dashing from place to place and trying to be present to hear each friend’s story.
We talked of books and significant others and children and new jobs, of travel hopes and dreams, of moves and looming changes. The conversations, while unique, shared a common thread: “Dear one, sit with me and hear my heart beat.” If you had passed by and seen us, heads bowed toward each other and spilling words quickly, long pent up from a too-far separateness, you would have known you were seeing friendship embodied.
These precious conversations didn’t have time to linger with toes dangling in the shallow end. Limited moments together meant a headfirst dive into the deep.
“I feel restless,” confessed one friend. Another spoke of fears for her marriage. A third friend worried about her job.
Yet another had the hardest news. “The doctors are concerned it may be cancer.” Her words washed over and through me. She left the room to change her youngest child’s diaper. The weight of what she had to tell filled me so quickly that tears came unbidden.
In these conversations and others along the way, the good tempered the bad. Friendship allowed us to air fears and sadnesses but also to celebrate happy news and moments of laughter. We parted ways feeling lighter for sharing each others’ joys and burdens, even for such a short time.
My friend, the one with the doctor’s appointment, reassured me. “I’m focusing on Philippians 4:8.”
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
– Philippians 4:8
It takes grace and strength and sometimes sheer will of effort to train our thoughts on those things, to dwell there among the good instead of what could drag us down, floundering and struggling for air.
Maybe you need these words today, too?
If you need a little help to get you started, a butterfly and a young koala broke the internet in the last few days. Watch and repeat as needed. If butterflies and koalas don’t work for you, try this one of a mother and baby otter.
Do you have a favorite video or image or phrase or verse that helps you retrain your thoughts? I’d love for you to share it below.