Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Out With the Old

New things, new people, new experiences are always exciting.  There's just something inside us that really lights up when it comes to new things.  Don't even get me started on new chapters, new shoes, new destinations, and new opportunities.  Of course, not all new things that come into our lives are good for us or prove beneficial.  In the end we find out that we've lost something valuable with the old tried and true we've tossed out for the new.  Makes me think of smiling people with wagging tongues that come in and  tell you all about the new and amazing things they can do in your life and how you can't live without them - to find out they were NOTHING like the excellent, dutiful and faithful people you already had in your life. All talk, but no substance.

Don't get me wrong, NEW is great.  I think we should all live our lives in one direction - forward.  It's the only way we're going - so we might as well get acclimated to the idea.  However, we don't need to be in such a hurry to toss away what we have to make room for everything new that comes down the pipe, as if to say we can't obtain the new with what we already have.  We need to remind ourselves of the story of the man who had so much that he tore down the barns he already  had to build bigger ones to make room for the new stuff he thought he had to have in his life.  God called that man a fool.  There's  a lot of wisdom in that. Success isn't about what we have, who we know, or who knows us, but WHO we are regardless of all that.

It's often said that the man with the most toys in the end - wins.  What does he win?  The prize for being the biggest fool?  Sometimes our greatest treasures aren't what we can get, or even what great opportunities become available to us - but in what we already have.  Most often what we already have is highly unappreciated - especially when it comes to the people in our lives.

Not everybody that says they're a friend is a true friend.  There may be some true emotions involved, but emotions change from day to day, experience to experience, and level to level.  With it, most friendships also change, at least those that are only viable in the emotional realm.  True friends are steady unmovable rocks.  They may react in emotion, but they work through those flows and ebbs, building character and trust; strengthening the bonds between each other. They know how to forgive and to apologize, to encourage and rebuke.

Many people come in and out of my life, because I'm in constant motion.  As I move, different opportunities present themselves bringing the different people with them.  Some the world would consider inconsequential, while others enjoy a celebrity status.  Years ago, when I barely valued myself, I would have endowed the celebrity with higher enthusiasm than the regular Joe, but not today.  I've matured and learned to love myself and see the value in who I am, and realize what character traits I value in other people - honesty and integrity above all.

I know both rich and poor, unknown and famous, inexperienced and successful, students and scholars, titled and untitled,  and among them all I have made many friends.  While I may spend some of my time getting to know the new acquaintances in my life, I don't throw away the wonderful, valuable and precious jewels in the true friends I already have.  I'm not impressed with titles, money, status, prestige or celebrity - in fact those are the ones I'm most wary and often pity. I've seen many  with my own eyes lose sight of what's really important in life chasing after the wind - but as Ecclesiastes reminds me - it's all meaningless.

I'm a writer striving for success and I'm a good business woman - but I don't measure my success on the number of book sales, dollars earned, celebrity endorsements, or acceptance by the populace and popular prestige.  I measure success in the many letters I receive from readers who've been encouraged by the words I've written or found inspiration by my example to write their own.  Writing makes me happy, so whether I reach 'worldly' success or not, I'm already successful.  I thank God for the friends I have in my life who pray for me, lift me up, encourage me when I'm down, remind me when I've been living in the clouds too long, rebuke me when I'm out place, bring me soup when I'm sick, tell me the truth especially when it hurts, and stuck around long enough to get to know me and my character. 

Now, where can I get a new pair of shoes!!!

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray