"To receive the fulness God has intended for us....we are all going to have to reach out with our hearts and let down some barriers. Most of us protect ourselves from pain--hurtful experiences and words that come from our friends, our enemies, and sometimes within us--by building walls, emotional defenses around our hearts. But the same walls we build to protect ourselves can also isolate us.... Can we let down a few walls and find that we are in the embrace of God?" Patricia Holland A Quiet Heart pg 3
It is human nature to want to protect what we value. Whether it be physical or something intangible. For example, most of us keep our homes locked and the windows shut when we are not there, our cars locked, and our wallets and purses always close within sight. We try to keep out harmful substances from our children and out of our homes that would damage it just as much, if not more, than a burglar taking what would be profitable to him. We also choose to put a figurative wall around our bodies to keep out unhealthy things that would limit our growth and capacity, mentally and physically, to do things.
The walls, mentioned so far, are good. But, as there is opposition in all things, there are some walls we build that are harmful to ourselves and to others. A friend of mine told me a story that shows a type of wall that we sometimes build, "When I was in Kindergarten, I moved to a new school. I didn't have any friends so one day, as our class was walking to the library to watch a filmstrip, I went up to a kid and said, "Hi, do you want to be my friend? He said, "No, I already have one." And that was that." My friend relayed this story comically but I am sure when the event happened he was not laughing. This is the wall I wanted to talk about today. As Sister Patricia Holland stated, sometimes the walls we build to protect us are the the ones that create our own isolation.
I once had a friend(I really don't remember who) tell me that they just wanted to have friends that were "like them". She said it was "too hard to find something to do or to talk about with someone who is different or likes other things than she does". I felt so sorry that she really thought that good friendships only came from those that were similar to herself.
Sadly, she missed the whole point of what friendship is. Friendship is not looking for what you get out of the relationship, as both these people in the stories thought. It is not about trying to find the right person for you to be most comfortably friends with. Friendship is what you can give to another person. The best friendships I have had in my life are the ones who are so different from me, the ones that take work to understand and to relate to, the ones who I learn from because we are so very different.
If we could take down our walls a little sooner, take them down for anyone within our reach, we would find that we are surrounded by people who will be blessed by our friendship and we will discover our lives being blessed in return. I know that God puts people in our lives that will forever impact us but sometimes our actions or inaction keeps them from influencing us. I know that as we strive to include others in our lives and in our social circles that it will help us and them become our best selves. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.