I’m a musician. I grew up in a musical family.
As musicians, we often buy and sell our instruments. Sometimes we’ll buy an instrument with good resell value because we know we’ll sell it on eventually. Some people joke that musicians have a lack of commitment to their instruments.
And maybe there’s some truth to that; personally, I have a long list of instruments I want to get – a harp, midi controller, keyboard and various music software. I always want to upgrade to something even better.
We all want to have the best. To get there, we sell our used items and buy new ones all the time. It may not be such a bad thing – we’re boosting the economy and recycling our used items, and helping some second-hand buyer save some money on the sticker price.
Things come and go. I wonder if we view people the same way.
What makes commitment possible? What enables a person to stick by another, through the good and bad times?
I’m not just talking about romantic relationships, but also among friends. Going through good times is easy enough. But what about the mundane and tougher ones? Why will anyone bother to put up with the more boring or uglier side of life? Will anyone put up with the uglier side of me?
Good times are fun times. They’re like the period you buy a new musical instrument and they still have that smell of fresh carpentry and lacquer. They’re moments where everything goes smoothly – no potholes or traffic jams. Meet-ups are filled with more laughter, more smiles. Spirits are a little lighter.
But it’s a very different story when the not-so-good times creep in.
The new instrument has started to lose its sheen. The ride slows down. It gets tougher to get through each day.
Different people react differently. While some crawl back into their turtle shells of solitude, others need to turn to friends to share their burdens.
Going through good times is easy enough. But what about the mundane and tougher ones? Why will anyone bother to put up with the more boring or uglier side of life? Will anyone put up with the uglier side of me?
When disagreements crop up, avoiding conflicts – or avoiding the person altogether – is the easiest thing to do. Running away and sweeping issues under the carpet makes it seem like nothing is wrong. It’s so tempting to give in.
People fail each other. At the sign that something isn’t going so well, our instinct is not to stick around, but to trade each other in, like just another used instrument on Carousell.
But I think about the unchanging character of God and I see that there is a better example to follow.
God promises His presence through … anything and everything. He will see me through, He promised. He will never leave me, nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6).
And I realised, if that promise gives me strength and assurance – knowing He is there for me – maybe to some smaller degree I can be that strength and assurance to someone. And not try to get rid of them the minute they’ve outlived their usefulness to me.
There is no guarantee where friendships will lead. We get into them not knowing where they will take us. Which makes our promise to stand by our friends through the good and bad times so important.
Commitment perseveres. It works out the differences, compromises, accommodates and adjusts to make a relationship work. Commitment means promising to not give up when things get tough.
Who will you stand by today?