I recently spent time with a lovely friend who lives in another state. Our husbands work for the same organization so I am blessed to see her from time to time.
She is one of those sweet gentle people who is so lovely I cannot even imagine the word “crap” coming from her soft-spoken mouth, much less anything worse. She has an unusual southern name that not only matches the loveliness of her nature, it frames the natural beauty that radiates from her face. And the thing that makes all this bearable and allows her to be so lovable is the fact that it is all very genuine. She is 100% real.
It’s funny, but being around her reminds me of cooking a Holiday turkey. You know what I’m talking about — you smell the loveliness and yearn for the moment when it is placed on the table before you. The tantalizing smell makes your mouth water as you anticipate how delicious and wonderful it is going to be to savor the first bite. You see it and you smell it. And you can hardly stand to wait for the feast to begin because you KNOW how good it is going to be.
That’s how it is with my friend. She is like the sweetness and aroma of heaven and it makes me want it bad because it is real and pure; a simply lovely desire. I don’t say this lightly because i am not the sort of person generally drawn to that sort of thing. I like gritty and authentic. I like telling it like it is and yes I’ve been know to say exactly what I’m feeling without thinking about the outcome. But if I’m brutally honest, I must confess to myself that I want to be like her.
Perhaps it is because I am honest and transparent and sometimes hate being what I am that I’m so drawn to her. I think it must be because she is what i know Jesus is like and because I love Jesus and want to be more like him than anything else in this world. One thing is for sure: the world doesn’t need another crotchety Christian who skirts holiness with the excuse of authenticity.
So I acknowledge she makes me want to be a better person.
She is the soft side of who I want to be. The good found in the middle of bad, the place that calls me to ascribe to being a better person everyday; to being the sweetness and aroma of all that is good and holy in this rough and gritty world.
Being around my friend brings me to my knees. I feel unacceptable. And as weird as it sounds, that’s a good thing because I too easily become complacent and that can be a problem, not only in my life but I suspect in yours as well. We become lazy and hate words like ‘mandate’ because we don’t have the holiness it takes to get the job done. We lose sight. We don’t have the courage and constitution it takes to be like Jesus.
But because of my friend, I know that it is possible. Because she is a constant reminder of all that is lovely and good and holy – all the things we should strive to be when we step out of bed in the morning.
I am not sure anyone ever uses the word “sweet” to describe me but one thing I know is true. I must surround myself with God’s people. I’m talking about the ones I want to emulate. Because if I’m ever going to be more like Jesus, I’ve got to spend time around people who shape me in his image.
© 2011 Kathy Chapman Sharp