Your Furry Underbelly is Showing…

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One of my absolute favorite movies is Sliding Doors (1998) with Gwyneth Paltrow and yummy John Hannah. It’s an interesting movie, if you’ve never seen it. The plot splits, and two separate plots develop based upon Paltrow’s decision to force her way onto a departing train or to let it go and wait for the next one. The viewer is able to follow the separate storylines because in one Paltrow cuts her hair short and in the other her hair is long. The two stories weave together at the very end and you are left wondering, even having to decide for yourself, which was her reality.

The main premise of the movie is that our destiny is not driven so much by the big decisions but our everyday choices. To catch this train or wait for the next. To put ourselves out there, once again, and suggest we meet over coffee. [Segue…] I’m often told that I will meet my husband if only I would get out more, take ballroom dance classes or date online, etc. etc. Really? Do you think that we have to put forth that much effort to meet our lifelong companion, lover and best friend? I don’t. When we give ourselves over to our Father’s purposes He works it out. It’s while we’re on our own everyday journey, pursuing the interests and dreams that He’s placed in our hearts, that He brings us into contact with our lifelong relationships, those people to whom we’ll show our furry underbelly …forever.

Early in the movie, Gwyneth Paltrow drops an earring in a crowded elevator and John Hannah picks it up and hands it to her. For him, it’s a cha-ching! moment. He notices her, and tries repeatedly to strike up conversation. Later on they encounter one another and John Hannah again tries to connect with Gwyneth. On all occasions, she is completely oblivious to his attention. She had just lost her job, and her current man friend, John Lynch, is an all-around cad. He plays the part convincingly. Gwyneth goes through some dark waters before she’s thinking clearly again but since John Hannah persists at being becoming her friend through several seasons, they eventually connect.

I remember deciding to visit a church on the other side of town on the night of a blizzard. Before I began the 15 mile drive, I wanted to bail but decided to go anyway. Having newly relocated from the southeast, I hadn’t driven in snow, let alone a blizzard in ten years! Yet, that evening I wound up talking with a gal who has since become one of my dearest friends. Some of life’s wildest rides have been with my friend Kim, and we’ve howled with laughter until we couldn’t breathe. Good stuff. Would I have connected with her on another occasion? Quite likely. But there are some people who you know as soon as you meet them that they will be in your life forever. Kim is one of those people for me.

Whether a husband, wife or gal/guy pal, lifelong friends are worth waiting for. They are worth fighting for. Our friendship was nearly lost to us through a series of misunderstandings and mistakes Kim and I both regret deeply. For a year we both tried to justify our silence. Authentic sorrow, repentance and forgiveness had to come from the heart, for both of us. We learned so much about ourselves, our natural inclination toward selfishness. It’s a friendship that has been severely tested and tried but it’s stronger as a result. We’re both thoughtful about the way we value one another after all this. It reminds us of Christ’s sacrifice for us. He layed down His life for us, and that’s the gold standard for a friendship, “Greater love has no man than he that lays down his life for a friend.” (John 15:13)

Who are your lifelong friends? Do they know?

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