Perusing ye olde weblog postings of mine is unhealthy. This may come as a surprise to some, but I am not my biggest fan. Looking through the belligerent, misguided and too often off-base feelings and ideas which have flowed from my fingers hasn't done much to elevate my opinion of myself. In summary: I am a tool.
I often wonder why Esther has stuck it out for so long with me. While it is all to clear to me the graces, assistance and love she has offered our relationship, as I peer back in time my level of reciprocation seems ...low. I feel that I have gotten better though?
I was toying with an interesting thought the other day. It is in style to tout the overused line "people don't change." Or maybe it just feels like it is in style because I have been watching too much House. Either way, I feel this is an unfair assertion. People do change, even people who aren't altered by God. But change doesn't really stem from desire as far as I can tell. Change stems more from adversity than anything. I think this is true even for us as believers.
So, I feel I've changed a lot. Am I saying that I've been through a lot of adversity? Sadly, no, I cannot make that claim. As much as I have claimed adversity from time to time, most of my adverse is generated inwardly and not by external challenges. I don't mean to be flippant either. We've had our difficulties. Really, we have. However, God has provided immensely for us in every circumstance. Bitterness in my life is simply overwhelmed by thankfulness. ...and by the fact that I have nothing to be bitter about.
I suppose I should take a sidebar here to talk about "getting my own way" and how others view "getting their own way," but I won't. I tend to focus on physical things too much, so any disappointment I've felt has been generated by this improper focus.
No, what I wanted to say was that I am embarrassed by many of the things I've said in the past for a variety of reasons. I'd like to think I've changed a lot over the years and I'd like to think I've changed for the better. I still have a lot of old habits which are just bad and I still need to struggle through them. But many things about me have changed and I also think many of my friends have been instrumental in this change. And yes, I want to name names.
Esther: Of course, Esther has been the single largest motivator of change in my life and she has accomplished this change almost entirely through patience. I know she wonders sometimes what I might think of her in this regard and the word which jumps most readily to my mind is "long-suffering." Esther is an enormous blessing to me. I would be far more difficult to spend time with if not for her loving influences.
Shon: Always a source of quietness and peace to me. Shon, as a friend, has been a good example of the kinds of things I have always wanted to be. Faithful. Kind-hearted. Patient. Humble. He's not a flashy fellow, but he's a great friend who has altered my outlook on life more than he probably realizes.
Lonnie: Honest. Unafraid to look foolish. More concerned with finding what's right than with looking good while doing it. For a person (me) obsessed with appearing "respectable" to everyone around me, Lonnie has run the gamut from annoying to refreshing (and I mean both of those adjectives as a compliment). Yes, Lonnie, you have changed me for the better. And being your friend has always been worth it.
Jon: I would have pigeon-holed Jon as a "spiritual" muckey-muck not worthy of my time if he weren't so awesome. This is going to sound weird, but Jon's influence has given me the real and powerful hope that being a morally upstanding person in every area of life possible is really and truly worth my effort. I know that statement will endure a lot of interpretation, but I am not going to qualify it further. Also, it is nice to have someone around who wants to be my friend as much as I want to be befriended (yes that's a very self-absorbed sentence, forgive me).
If I didn't say your name, I am sorry and I mean no offense by it. There are other people who have affected change in me to a very great extent. Scott Schaeffer, for instance. However, these few are standing out to me today and right now, so they are the ones I talked about.