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THE BUDDY BENCH

BuddyBenchLast week my granddaughter, Olivia, had a melt-down because she was being excluded by one of her school friends at recess time. Apparently, her friend had a new best friend and all former friends, including my granddaughter, were being ignored.

In an effort to promote harmony, I suggested we have a sleep-over for all parties involved. In doing so, NeeNee had a serious conversation with the girls about the emotional upsets they were having at school.

I love the honesty, resiliency and forgiving spirit of kids. As I talked with the girls they were candid about their feelings and in between their tearful sobs they talked about how it felt to be left out and sit on the playground ‘buddy bench’ the entire recess period because no one offers to play with them.

Being excluded at any age causes us to ask ourselves, “What is wrong with me.” Loneliness takes up residency in our spirit and opens the door for resentment, anger and, in some cases, thoughts of suicide. In my lifetime, I have experienced that kind of loneliness. Betrayal, divorce, joblessness, anxiety attacks, death of a loved one; or the loss of or longing for friendship have all taken lead role at some time or another.

The reason for your loneliness may be different than mine, but one thing is certain, loneliness is no respecter of persons; the emotions it stirs within us are the same. Perhaps you are sitting on the ‘buddy bench’ right now waiting for someone to befriend you, to care; to listen. That person is sitting next to you at this very moment. His name is Jesus and all you need to do is take His hand. He longs to lead you to the still waters and restore your soul; He longs to be your friend.

You will always find Jesus on the ‘buddy bench’ waiting to be a friend to anyone who asks.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20, ESV

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CONSUMED BY CLUTTER

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Clutter has never been a part of my lifestyle; until now. Every room in my house is filled with piles of this and stacks of that. I’m the process of updating my office and in the transition I have created chaos. The addition of Christmas decorations only adds to the mess. Not to mention all the furniture pieces I have been stockpiling in the garage to re-purpose. My husband shows no signs of support and, quite honestly, I don’t blame him.

This once clutter-free wife has become a borderline candidate for an episode on the Hoarders television show. What is going on here; what changed?

My life is no longer ‘all about the bass’, it’s all about the space (and there isn’t much of it).

Perhaps the ensuing clutter personifies my unfulfilled dreams; things I want to do or experience before I part ways with this world. Whatever the motivating factor, it’s time to unclutter my surroundings; not so I can collect more stuff, but to free up space so I can see what I already have.

I no longer want to look around me and feel like the psalmist who said, “My confusion is continually before me.” (Psalm 44:15, KJV)

And so, my goal this holiday season is to clear my life of unnecessary clutter, both materially and spiritually to make room for those things that matter most; family, faith and friendships. I am raking through the transient clutter that encompasses me in confusion.

First Corinthians 14:33 tells us that “God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” And Second Peter 2:19 makes it clear: “A man is slave to whatever has mastered him.”

And so, to my curbside-trash-hunting friends (you know who you are); you are welcome to pick through anything you find at the end of my driveway except for my trash-taker-outer honey-man. He’s not up for grabs.