On long-term loving

My first impression of people is always good. I love people when they’re new (to me). I love the idea of beginnings, of getting to know a person, of digging deep into the things that make them tick, of likes and dislikes, of dreams and victories and triumphs.

I recognize this as a God-given talent, that I can and want to introduce myself to new people and make them feel like I’ve known them for years, that I can be familiar and understanding and relate-able.

But as time passes, I realize I’m strongly lacking. I partially attribute this to having attended 3 different high schools in the 4 years I was in high school (in fact I moved around when I was in elementary school as well but this is not as relevant). The 3.5 years I had in university — 3.5! was the longest period of time in my life that I had known the same set of people.

I’m used to moving away at some point and having long-distance friendships, the kind of friendships where we don’t talk everyday or even every week or month because we simply couldn’t. I was not used to being friends long enough to become so comfortable with them that we disappoint each other in ways I didn’t know I could disappoint or be disappointed. I was not used to being a Christian long enough to realize that my long-term community was both directly and indirectly revealing sins that can only be uncovered from comfort.

But not being used to being friends with people for a long time is just a bad excuse for the type of love I am called to have and it’s using my past as a scapegoat for the choices I make now. It’s evident that I don’t know what it means to love my friends in close proximity long-term. I’ve had people tell me they admire me for the way I can reach out, but for me, it is easy to love people the way I do. It’s easy for me to love them by serving them short-term but then peacing out when it gets difficult to love.

I don’t want to just love when it is easy for me. God doesn’t call me to love in just the ways that are easy for me.