There are some items in my house that some would say it's time to throw it out. These items are old, used, broken-in, loved. There is my old Bible- bound in a dark red leather,gold-leaf onion skin pages, broken spine, maps falling out, hi-liter everywhere. My rough-looking old sweater and cap, my jeans, and Jesus.
The sweater has to be 12 years old, actually a man's sweater, there are pulls in various places and it's covered in pills. But I got this 80 pound sweater for 15 pounds! It's so cool with its chestband of purl stitches. My cap is a trophy from dog-walking.I found it in the school yard one day; it say "reel girls fish". Since I have a lot of fishing memories with my dad, the cap will be staying. And my jeans, my ratty, ripped seamed, most often don't fit quite right Levis. They're an excellent pair of bootcuts that have been with me probably 8 years. Good times and bad, like an old friend, they stayed constant. Sometimes I had to squeeze into them and wear them under my belly, other times I'd be yanking them up like an old farm hand whose butt has left home. I've tried replacing them, truly I have. The new jeans never quite get that beautiful feel on my hips. They're too tight, the wrong colour, too low, too high, wrong cut. I keep coming back to my Levi Signature's.
Friends are like this. Sometimes they rub us the wrong way, don't quite fit our other friends, or have stains that won't go away. But they are constant, they have a history with us, and we realize that we are also ragged at the edges, worn in, and used but not used up. They see us as we were when we first met, not as we are now- a younger, more energetic version of us is kept alive in their memories, and yet they are not fooled by our pretenses. They know we are getting weaker and frailer, and they look out for us.
The only friend more constant is Jesus - even in His perfect heavenly body, He has kept the nailprints that remind us that He stood in our stead and took our judgement upon Himself. People say I'm wasting my time with Jesus- He's out of date, doesn't fit our era, isn't cool - but He has been a constant friend- His shoulders are broad and can handle whatever problems, fears, worries I bring to Him. When I rejected Him, He kept pursuing me. He was not put off, but continued to care for me. He sees only the best in me, not as I am now (although He knows me better than anyone else could), but as I could be with His strength and grace. Jesus provides me with shelter, protection, encouragement, peace, and joy. He gives me grace and laughter to handle my situation, and He's coming back to get me. He says so in His letters to us in my roughed up, old Bible. He loves me. I can't do anything to make Him love me more - or less! His love just is. Perfect, complete.