When I was an unrepentant heathen I thought I'd be happiest following my own will. What happened, naturally, was that I became more and more willful and less and less happy.
Now that I am trying to become who I was made to be and not reacting to my every whim, I am much happier. As much improved as I am, I had a longer way to come than most, so I am well aware, most of the time, that I follow God's will imperfectly and am apt to need redirection in unexpected moments. God has blessed me with the type of friends who are willing to help me in this regard. They won't let me get away with pettiness and smallness without gently calling me to something better. I'm happy to report that this is not a frequent occurrence.
Being so close to my old habits of sinfulness, it's usually me who has benefited from spiritual redirection from my friends. Not so the other day when I heard: "Why do people like that even come to retreats?"
Whoops. In that split second, I was tempted to let the comment pass. What if she got mad at me? Is it really that bad? Since it smacked of pride and since I knew she'd do the same service for me, I took a breath and dove in. "We're all 'people like that,'" I reminded her. She readily agreed, corrected herself, and added, "They're just not sinning my sins." No big deal. We continued on, discussed the nature of sin, large and small, and in doing so bettered ourselves a bit, or at least bolstered our resolve not to backslide on our backsides. I was glad I braved the subject.
We're all falling so short of perfection that we need almost continual redirection, so I am grateful that I have this woman for my friend. Not only is she trying her best to serve God, she's ready to stand corrected if she doesn't. She is cheerful about it all and much more gentle in her redirection of me. I wish all the world had such a treasure.
Happiness is often found in a true friend.