A Few Faithful, Forgiving Friends!

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Mar 272017

A Few Faithful Forgiving Friends

“On this crazy journey of life thru the lows of the valleys, and the highs of the mountain tops, the one who has found a faithful, forgiving friend to walk with is rich beyond all measure!”

Those of you who have hung around me long enough have heard this mantra of a ‘few faithful, forgiving friends’  roll off my tongue more than once. It is a constant thread that weaves through my life message. These kinds of people are a rare treasure indeed. I have tasted of this kind of friendship, and in this way I can say I am a rich man! My hope and wish is that all would have the joy of finding these kinds of friends and fellow sojourners.

These folk have known you a long time. They have seen the side of you that is broken, frail, fragmented and not so nice or even dark. They have seen the side of you that is beautiful, free, and full with gifts and dreams to make a difference in this world.

They love you enough to cover your vulnerable back end when exposed, to speak the truth even when it stings, and yet stick with you when you screw up and fail. They pick you up when you fall down, and they sit with you in the silence of the dark night of the soul.

They believe in you and cheer you even when others are cynical, cutting, and critical. They step out with you by investing their time, energy and money to explore and experiment in a wild adventure into the unknown together!

Below is a blog written by the Katelyn Wall, the daughter of one of my life long friends, John Wall. Read and enjoy her take on why finding some faithful, forgiving friends is so rewarding and life giving. May her blog inspire, encourage and move you to find your circle of faithful, forgiving friends!

Forgiving, Faithful, Friends

by katelynashlee

Throughout my years here in Earth, I have learnt the importance of having great, loving friends. Friends, who share you dreams and passions, challenging them and encouraging them; who admire who you are and who you are becoming; Friends, that know how to have a fun time.

A few years ago, when I was about eighteen, I travelled around India with my father and his best friend who was from Canada (Calgary, represent!). Our journey there was to visit and encourage churches to keep up the good fight. Actually, it felt a lot like what Paul and Silas, and a few others did in Acts. My fathers friend encouraged me with one of the fragrances of his life’s message, which was simply to be intentional about surrounding myself with a few, faithful forgiving friends. I remember replying by telling him he was like a book I hadn’t read yet – but the blurb sounded really interesting. I drilled him with questions about faith and life and fellowship with the church – and the world, like, ‘how do you create a meaningful life, that is inspiring, encouraging and builds a legacy?’ Part of his answers extended around the idea that we need to be intentional about doing life with others, just as the disciples did during their earthly time with Jesus, and beyond that.

Friendship is not only a good idea, it’s the promise of a better, more fruitful world and church. It promotes peace and unity is its outpouring. A possibility of kindness and freedom and truth, rather than deceit and failure and war. It has the power to withstand things, it is supportive, and when it’s done right, it’s empowering. Friends point you towards a brighter future, a healthier you and a happier existence. Surrounding yourself with a Few Faithful Forgiving Friends, means you walk into relationship where there is no needy things among you. Friends that stick by you, sharpen you, point you towards the Father and forgive you when you fail to meant those goals. Friends that share in the inheritance of the Holy People in the Kingdom of Light (Col 1: 9-12). They call out the best in you, by challenging the worst. 

I was 20 when I first picked up Bob Goff’s book, LoveDoes. It inspired me, among many things, to work towards establishing friendships that are meaningful, intentional and filled with unconditional love. He puts it like this;

“Being engaged is a way of doing life, a way of living and loving. It’s about going to extremes and expressing the bright hope that life offers us, a hope that makes us brave and expels darkness with light. That’s what I want my life to be all about – full of abandon, whimsy, and in love.” – Bob Goff

One of my life ambitions now is to become friends with Bob. 


But it doesn’t start there. It starts right now, in the living room of my best friend’s new crib. Friends who I’ve journeyed with since we were children. Friends who have championed me, forgiven me, and inspired me to continue fighting for what I believe in. They are faithful friends that pursue the good things in me.
It starts here with my housemates, sharing life stories in order that we might catch a glimpse of the wonderful joy in life and be welcomed into share it.
It starts right now in the decisions you make when interacting with strangers. When we chose to simply be friends without an agenda. When we are engaging and connecting; by being present and making the decision to simply, do it. It creates positive change, and I believe the world is hungry for it. 

“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions were their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all, that there were no needy persons among them.” – Acts 4:32-34

So today marks the start of something new – A life lived with intension. The early church got it, they so lived in fellowship that there was no one among them who needed something. And it probably wasn’t only physical needs.

Just as Paul said, “Therefore as Gods chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you have grievance against someone. Forgive, as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” 

Just a Few Faithful Forgiving Friends.

katelynashlee | March 6, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Tags: BobGoffcompassionempowerfaithfellowshipfriendshopeunity | Categories: journey | URL: http://wp.me/p37xUL-3H

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Life Lessons Learned Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

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Sep 092011
This summer as part of the rites of passage coaching I do with parents

Getting High on the View

and their kids, I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa with my son Jonathan and my brother Steve and his son, Ben.

Gung Ho and Ready to Go

Two nagging questions that you face while preparing to climb a mountain like Mt. Kili are: “Why am I paying big bucks and investing all that time to inflict pain on myself by climbing this mountain?” and  “Am I going to make it?”  Couched in these questions  are the the seminal questions we all ask whenever we are faced with an opportunity or challenge that will require risk yet great reward on the other side.What I have found is that the journey of climbing a mountain is a metaphor for life. That is why mountain climbing is such a great rite of passage experience for parents and kids.

The Challenge of Mt. Kili

Here are 7 life lessons that we learned on the mountain:
  1. GO SLOW TO GO FAST: On the first few days of the trek our sons were blazing the trail ahead of us grey-beards at a torrid pace. I kept saying to the lads, “This mountain will teach you to go slow to go fast!”, but to no avail. That is until the last night when we made the last push to the summit.  Altitude and -15 C  temps became the great equalizer. The two young studs were no longer out there leading the pack. At one point we thought the youngest member of our expedition wouldn’t make it to the top. Where as earlier in the trek he had boundless energy, he was now in agony, swaying and staggering under the affects of altitude sickness with every breath laboured. Yet slowly, at what seemed like a snail’s pace, we all made it to the summit…with guess who at the front 🙂  IN WHAT AREAS OF YOUR LIFE DO YOU NEED TO SLOW DOWN? WHERE IS THE TEMPTATION IN YOUR LIFE TO TAKE SHORT CUTS THAT WILL COST YOU IN THE LONG RUN?

    The End Goal Within Reach

    The axiom often quoted these days says, “It’s all about the journey, not the destination.” Though I appreciate the idea that we need to take time on the trek of life to enjoy the landscape, vegetation and each other’s company, which we did, I can’t imagine climbing Mt. Kili with no intention of reaching the top.  Having and reaching one’s goals are important. Yes, sometimes the task or the mission can be so all consuming that relationships suffer, and we miss out on living fully in the moment. Yet somehow on the mountain, we learned how to live in the tension of enjoying every minute of every day, and yet pushing each other on and pressing through to reach our end goal. We had some belly aching laughs as watched how many times we had to pee on the mountain because of all the fluids we were drinking. As we huddled in our tents at night under the clear, star-studded African skies, we treasured the rich conversations we shared about the mysteries of a woman, our fears, and our hopes and dreams for the future. Just as rewarding, though, was the profound sense of accomplishment and exhiliration we all felt at making it to

    Working Hard to Reach the Top

    the top of Mt. Kili. Imparting to our sons the life lessons of setting a goal, of doing the planning and preparation to attain the goal, and then working hard to achieve that goal was worth every penny. On top of that the personal pride we felt as dads at seeing our boys reach their goal, alongside the simple pleasure of  being and bonding with our boys made the journey and destination worth it. ARE YOU ENJOYING THE SIMPLE PLEASURES OF YOUR JOURNEY? WHERE DO YOU NEED TO SET SOME GOALS TO FULFILL YOUR DREAM?

    Made It!

  3. IT TAKES A TEAM TO LIVE THE DREAM: We were blown away at how many porters and guides we were assigned to climb the mountain: 14, including two guides and two cooks.  At first we thought this was overkill. Yet when we were trudging up the mountain gasping for air as we watched these incredible porters whiz by us wearing flimsy tennis shoes, carrying 50-70 pounds of gear sometimes on their heads or necks, we realized we may not have made it without them. What a gift to do this climb with my son Jon, my brother Steve, and his son Ben! They were just the right team to share this experience. WHO ARE SOME FRIENDS OR FAMILY THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURSUE A DREAM WITH?
  4. OVERCOMING OBSTACLES IS PART OF PURSUING ANY DREAM WORTH REACHING FOR: One of the most poignant memories of our climb occurred on the final night of the summit ascent. We started the climb up to the top at 12am. Right away we noticed that Ben, my brother’s son, was struggling with the effects of altitude sickness. He was having a hard time breathing, which was

    Overcoming Obstacles to Reach the Top

    compounded by a slight case of asthma he had been diagnosed with in the last year. He kept saying that he was sleepy and every step forward took all the strength he could muster. I was so impressed watching my brother Steve walking behind Ben speaking words of encouragement and at times literally pushing Ben up the mountain. At one point my brother, concerned for Ben’s wellbeing, asked the guide whether they should turn back. The affable guide turned and said, “No, Ben is a strong young man and he can make it.”  Ben was able to overcome and we all made it to the top at 6am, albeit with our water bottles almost frozen solid and our toes and fingers feeling a little numb from frost bite. We were rewarded with a glorious sunrise on the way down. WHAT SEEMINGLY INSURMOUNTABLE OBSTACLE IN YOUR LIFE DO YOU NEED THE COURAGE TO OVERCOME?

    The Reward


    5. CELEBRATE YOUR VICTORIES : It is hard to put into words the euphoria you feel when  you get to the top of a mountain. Perhaps it is simply the lack of oxygen that makes you feel a little giddy, but I think it is that sense of fulfillment, joy, and feeling truly alive, even though bone weary, cold, and feeling the aches and pains in parts of your body that you never paid much attention to. We were truly elated and proud of our boys and their accomplishment. WHAT SMALL OR BIG ACCOMPLISHMENT IN YOUR LIFE OR THE LIVES OF THOSE AROUND YOU DO YOU NEED TO CHOOSE TO CELEBRATE?  CELEBRATING BUILDS CONFIDENCE IN PEOPLE TO RISK AND FACE FAILURE.

    WooHoo...WE DID IT!


    6. CHEER ON  THE NEXT GENERATION: As I get older I realize that my role is to be a cheerleader for the next generation, encouraging them to dream big and go for it. Hopefully I will get to tag along. As was evident on most of this trek up Mt. Kili, our two sons had far more energy, vigour, and faster recovery rates than us dads.  We were constantly being passed by them on the trail. Rather than trying to compete with them, we encouraged them to lead us on up the mountain. The next generation needs us to coach them, create space for them to explore, risk, and yes sometimes fail, and most importantly to be their best cheerleaders and champion their dreams. WHO IS A YOUNG PERSON IN YOUR LIFE THAT LOOKS TO YOU FOR MENTORING? CHEER THEM ON, AND WHEN THEY ASK, PASS ON YOUR LIFE WISDOM.

    7. SQUATTY POTTIES KEEP YOU HUMBLE AND HUMAN: Have you ever tried to squat over an open hole on the side of a mountain in the dark to do your business? What I learned is that you have to be pretty good in geometry and have strong quads to be successful in your mission. From first hand experience, if you position yourself to0 far forward or to0 far back, you will surely miss the target! Besides that, squatty potties are not the place to catch up on your reading, as after a minute or two of crouching, your thighs start burning and cramp up…and yes, make sure you bring toilet paper with you as there is no guarantee that it will be provided, and if you have no toilet paper you find yourself in a very awkward position 🙂  WHAT IS KEEPING YOU HUMBLE AND HUMAN THESE DAYS?

    If you like you can take a look at the youtube movie of our climb below.



    Mission Accomplished- Uhuru Peak - the Roof of Africa @ 5895 metres