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i love my friends. though i agree with benjamin franklin (favorite son of my adopted city) that beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy, i think that friends are proof that God loves us and wants us to be holy.

i treasure these people. in their presence, i am regularly and alternately encouraged and humbled. most recently, the humbled bit has come through…
tonight was the first really gorgeous bit of spring in philly, which comes out in exuberantly mild, flowered glory this time of year. i wandered over to the park with five friends, and sometime along the way i realized (i think it was halfway between the conversations about 15 inch toads and anti-malaria medicine) that i realised that i am the only one of our merry little band (there are something more than ten of us) that has never lived overseas. (i take that back – there’s one other girl. but she’s engaged to a guy who’s lived in multiple countries and plans to live in another one with him at some point soon, so does she count? (c:) . anyway, tonight i was the only one.

i so enjoy hearing my friends’ stories about life in south america, the middle east, and southeast asia. to hear them talk about the foods they’ve eaten, the mountains they’ve climbed and – most importantly – the people they’ve known feeds and comforts something deep in me. i get to know them in a way that is so good – hearing about the experiences, and the conversations, and – again – the people that have made my friends who they are is a treasure to me – like the stories of watching the sun rise and set over the south pacific, or of bargaining in the markets of the middle east, or of snorkeling in the indian ocean. but i have to admit, sometimes i get jealous!

i grew up in a small city in iowa. IOWA. as i often tell people, it’s a lovely place to have grown up, but when you’re swapping stories with friends who spent significant portions of their childhoods overseas, it’s easy to wish for better stories. y’know? i had a blessed childhood of comfort, raised by parents who love God, and who live out that love in their city in that state. blessings, all. but it means that my stories are stories of suburbia. oooh.

but i, like my friends, am a pot. should i the pot say to the Potter, why have You formed me out of the black soil of the midwest? why did you not form me from the sand of the egyptian desert? or the lava of the pacific islands? or the rock of the andes? why instead am i formed from earth that grows tame, trimmed seed-grass??

[how can i assume such an arrogant posture?]

how can i tell that for which i have been formed? how do i know what i the pot have been made to hold, and for what purpose the Potter chose what materials He did? i cannot; of course i cannot. i am silenced.

i am silenced, and i am thankful: thankful for the range of pots i see on the shelves around me and eager to see the purposes for which they have been created. what will this one hold? and that one? for what purpose has He shaped my friends? how will their design bring Him glory? yes, eagerly i wait to see these questions answered, though i know heaven alone may tell. i see my friends; i rejoice with them; and i am humbled by what their stories reveal in my heart. they are my proof that God loves us and wants us to be holy. i see that He has made all with deliberation and intent, and i want to wait humbly for the revelation, piece by piece, of His intent for me His pot.

The city is a discourse,
and this discourse is truly a language:
the city speaks to its inhabitants;
we speak our city,
the city where we are,
simply by living in it,
by wandering through it,
by looking at it.

- R o l a n d B a r t h e s


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