“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
~ Anne Shirley ~
Growing up, I always had friends. They were built-in friends, though, & I didn’t really have to work to maintain the relationships. I went to a small, private Christian school from pre-K to 12th Grade & we were something like a dysfunctional family.
But I won’t.
Okay, maybe just one.
(fellow TCS alumni reading this, I see you leaning in close, wondering if you’ll recognize anyone in this tale…)
In 10th Grade, I & several of my comrades sat at the lunch table chatting. Laura mentioned that she’d seen a YouTube video (this was back when none of us had cell phones & you had to watch YouTube videos on a computer so you know Laura went through some trouble to see this video).
Anyway, Laura mentioned that she’d seen a YouTube video about this thing called The Cinnamon Challenge. None of us knew what she was talking about except David, who, conveniently stayed silent. Laura never explained what exactly The Cinnamon Challenge was; just that she thought it’d be great fun if we all tried it out.
Lil naive Sophomores that we were, we jumped on her bandwagon. Except David, who knew exactly what The Cinnamon Challenge was and who, in his words, wanted to see us all make fools of ourselves (I love David & we’re all still friends to this day so there’s no hard feelings…mostly…hehe)
Laura said we’d need a tablespoon of cinnamon, a spoon, and just a lil bit of water.
We may have been naive but we were definitely resourceful so we raided the school kitchen for the necessary items and then out we trooped to the parking lot for recess.
We huddled behind the dumpster (why? I have no idea but we sure looked shady) and took shots of cinnamon; not up our noses but in our mouths. Laura neglected to divulge 2 rather important bits of info:
1 // she didn’t tell us what exactly we were supposed to do with the cinnamon so the rest of us swallowed it in one gulp while she just held it on her tongue
2 // we were gonna need a whole lot more water than the small shot-glasses-worth we’d brought out with us in paper cups
That was the 2nd moment in my life where I remember thinking “this is the end”. Lovely humans, I kid you not, I couldn’t breathe. The cinnamon clogged my throat & every time I tried to take a breath, it just made it all worse. We nearly hyperventilated & there was cinnamon everywhere.
Liz puked on Laura while Brian, Anne, & myself had cinnamon all over our uniforms. & where was David? Unhelpfully watching from the sidelines (but still behind the dumpster).
Cinnamon dust coated our mouths & we hack-coughed for a solid 3 minutes, struggling to breathe as tears pooled in our eyes. We reached for the water, only to discover that it wasn’t nearly enough.
Recess ended, the teacher on duty called us all in & barely noticed 5 teenagers doubled-over behind the garbage disposal, fighting for their lives. (I’m being dramatic; don’t worry, the teachers there were caring & responsible haha)
We carried ourselves inside to the bathrooms where Liz & Laura tried to clean up one another’s clothes. Eventually, we pulled ourselves together & walked in late to Chemistry class. But it was an Adventure I’ll never forget.
& that was just 1 afternoon.
Space fails me to tell of the duct-taping incident,
the chap-stick-under-the-eyes incident,
the hide-&-seek incident,
the accidental-fermentation-of-Snapple-in-the-lockers incident,
the incident where James & David lay on their stomachs during study hall & serenaded the Biology class with a rather soul-ful rendition of Silver Bells through the air vents since they connected between 2 classrooms…
Ahh, the glory days. (don’t get me wrong, there were loads of tears, fights, & misunderstandings too but I sort of like to think we were Legends back then 🙂 )
So I never really had to “make” friends. They were just sort of handed to me by the Most High & we all had to learn how to get along with each ’cause we saw each other 6-hours-a-day, 5-days-a-week (sometimes more if we played sports), 180-days-a-year for FOURTEEN years.
Then college happened & I discovered what loneliness meant.
My undergraduate experience wasn’t a happy one. I cried my 1st day of college. I distinctly remember sitting in the passenger seat of my family’s van as my mom drove me to campus on the 1st day, tears streaming down my cheeks. Mom was saying something about how it wasn’t going to be as bad as I expected but her comfort fell on deaf ears.
I just knew it was going to be awful ’cause I wouldn’t be with my comrades, the ones I’d grown to love & love deeply. The Most High had to teach me a sharp lesson about holding onto people when He says it’s time to let them go (& He’s honestly still teaching me that even now, here in 2021).
I made a few friends in UnderGrad but I spent February 2017 crying myself to sleep nearly every night. It was my Senior Year of college & I was just so ready to be done.
I was so done fighting against the poisonous current of the world in a secular college environment.
I was so done with the loneliness, with walking myself from class to class, alone;
with hibernating in the library between classes, alone;
with staring at the sea of faces in each class & seeing strangers locked up tightly in their own worlds while I was too timid to try & reach out of my own into theirs.
I was so done with it all. So I cried & my heart broke. But Christ had never been more real or close to me. I soaked in His Word like I never had before, memorized some of favourite bits of Scripture that I still cling to today, & learned what it meant to find Hope in the Darkness.
It was The Refiner’s Fire; a time when the Most High purged away my dross by showing me that I didn’t need anyone else but Him. My true satisfaction comes from knowing Him & resting in His love for me & in the fact that my sins have been washed in Christ’s blood & so my greatest need has already been met.
It was painful but sometimes we’ve got to walk alone for a bit, lovely humans. Sometimes we’re no good to each other until He’s purged us of immaturities & grown us in certain ways.
Sometimes we’d do each other grave harm as friends (as I’ve come to discover from past friendships gone awry)
& in His mercy & wisdom He spares us from that.
So may we not trust the process or trust to time; may we trust the King, trust that He’ll bring us solid, godly, Kindred Spirits when He sees fit.
& Christ has a way of crossing paths that leaves us breathless;
in awe of His timing & awake to His faithfulness.
So stay tuned for Pt. II of today’s bonus post; all about the unexpected yet lovely friendships the Most High has brought into my life over the past several years & the lessons He’s taught me through it all.
Pt. II goes live tomorrow evening, Lord-willing, so make sure you’re subscribed to the blog if you want the notification as it sails into your inbox 🙂
:: we’re in a War, my friends, & we all need Courage on the Front Lines🖤 ::
P.S. Tell me your Friendship Story in the comments! I’d love to hear how the Most High has brought friends into your life & shown Himself faithful 🙂