Some experiences in life teach us valuable lessons. How we perceives the experiences determine what we get out from them.
Recently, our koinonia group went for a hike up the Trias Ridge outside the Antipolo city. It was an exciting, yet a challenging hike for most of the members in the group. The slippery and muddy trail caused everyone to slip and fall several times except the tour guides (Ted and Arthur) and me. Our past experiences of hiking on bush trails helped us to walk with less struggle on the slippery mud without falling. Our shoes, clothes, arms and legs were painted with mud. Yet the joy of hiking as a group and the beauty of the vegetation made us took the challenge of climbing the hills with so much fun.
As I reflected on the experience, I am reminded of how challenging life can be.
Today, there are many lonely hikers in the world navigating their way in an attempt to accomplish something. Life can be stressful on a lonely journey. If you travel alone, you might succeed, or you could also give up on the way.
Being a lonely traveler, often life is not the same as walking with a group of supportive friends and families. There are many circumstances in life that we do not have any control over. The road can be slippery, muddy and cause us to fall.
The sad thing about walking alone is that, when you fall, there may not be someone there to offer a helping hand to pick you up or support you in some ways. But with good friends and families, we can be supported. There are others in the group that may have experienced something similar that can come to your aid.
Despite the challenges everyone faces, being part of a company of good friends can change our perspective of life. It shifts the focus from thinking too much about “ourselves” to being concerned about the well-being of “others.”
Sometimes it is hard to smile, laugh or even have a sense of humor when you are exhausted from brokenness, strife, stress, and failures in life caused by the slippery and muddy journey. However, walking with a group of positive friends can shift our perspective from focusing on your weariness to something joyful and exciting that can be enjoyed together at the present moment. Thus, it boosts our energy to strive and persist on towards the finishing line.
Have you ever tried sharing one of your difficult life experiences to someone who does not understand what you are talking about? You might become frustrated when the person does not show any interest or emotion towards your story. The person may hear and understand you but may not feel what you feel because he or she had never experienced the same thing. Nonetheless, it is easy for us to share our joys and struggles with those that we’ve journeyed together with since they understand the experience.
In a fast paced modern culture, life is busy. There is always so much to do in a day that often we do not realize that we do not have time to spend with friends and families. We may focus on our work, school and other priorities. But let us not forget to find time after hours to spend with others. If you set a fixed schedule to meet with friends for a meeting or a social activity, soon you might become bored from the routine. But if you cultivate a habit of spending at least a few moments with your friends during the week or over the weekend, you will soon benefit from it. It is not a schedule that would bother you with preparations for the meeting. Rather it becomes a voluntary lifestyle that does not need any preparation except your presence. You will be able to share what you have in mind to others and also listen and learn from others. In that way, your friends and you are able to journey together in life.
Psychologists remind us that a person who is kept in isolation for a longer period of time is likely to develop psychological, emotional and physical problems. God has given us neighbors as well as friends at school, work and other places. Do you find time to talk to them or are you a busy bee? Relationship is an important part of human life that cannot be avoided. Do not let your introvert personality or your busy schedule deter you from spending a few moments with friends. Spending time with good friends is good for you, your friends and the kingdom of God.