Navigating confusion in the midst of decisions

In every big decision that we make, there are little elements that causes us to pause. Most of the times we are not aware of these because of the way they present. Let’s talk about that little element of confusion. The mind has to reconcile in the midst of breakthrough moments and big decisions, is this really the right thing to do or am I crazy? I call this the element of confusion. Confusion is “the inability to think as clearly or quickly as you normally do.” It comes with a number of signs, including,”sudden changes in emotion, such as sudden agitation.

READ MORE: Bursting the myths of fear

Have you ever felt confident in a goal or desire that you are pursuing, but something or someone comes and knocks you out of your adrenaline rush? Once certain that the Lord gave you permission to take that trip, take that exciting opportunity, or refrain from doing something; but, the moment you settle into your decision something happens. You shared it with people, and now you have to reconcile their viewpoints as part of your decision making process- leaving you a little hm, confused. Did you really hear God the first time? Are you making the right decision? These questions plaque your mind leaving your brain too overwhelmed to decide on what is best for you.

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“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace…”1 Corinthians 14:33. Making decisions can often cause us to pause for many reasons, but remember we have to keep moving forward, not fall prey to confusion. So how do we ensure that we don’t get stuck here…and give up forever. Let’s ask ourselves a few questions: why am I confused? What did God tell me the first time? And who am I allowing to make my decision for me?

Why?

When it comes to certain decisions, I often feel that I do not have the ability to trust myself to make this decision, especially when I’ve failed too many times. So I go seeking counsel from sources that I believe have my best interest at heart. Many times when we share our goals with too many people, what we find is that everyone has a different perspective and rather than having to wrestle with our own, we now have an overload of opinions. I have a colleague who is looking for a house. She appeared extremely anxious and overwhelmed. When I inquired, this is when I learned that she had been getting so many opinions from friends and family so she has no idea if she’ll ever get a house. The market is too crazy! Move out of town! Wait til summer, blah blah blah….That’s what happen when we rely on other people’s opinions. Why are YOU confused? Well, when we choose to surrender our decision making abilities to other people, that’s what happens. Yes, we get to take counsel from others (choose who you want counsel from), and when they give us, we can decide for ourselves how beneficial their advise is to us. In other words, do we toss it or keep some or all of it? Once we take back control over our ability to make the decision we stop being confused.

Who?

Who are you surrendering your decision making abilities to, family members, trusted church brethren, friends? I realized that I was allowing these wonderful Godly women whom I trust and whom I consider experts in the area that I am making a decision, in the relationship realm. This is not the first time I’ve done this over my life. Out of fear, I wanted to hold on to every opinion in hopes that they would stare me right. But, I felt more confused than at peace. I don’t get to share my goals and desires with everyone – because even their good intentions can be hurtful and wounding to the soul. Rather than being helpful, they are hinderances to my faith. Even though I trust that these friends have my best interests, I still don’t have to put a heavy weight on their opinions. I still get the final say!

What?

“What did God tell you the first time?” This is the question my dear sister asked me when I told her I’m becoming more confused with all the opinions I’ve been sorting through. Rather than feeling stuck, I have to come back to God. I get to tell Him in prayer, “Lord, I am stuck and confused right now and I know you are not the author of confusion, so please remove everything or everyone that is causing me to feel confused. Please remind me of what you told me the first time.” This way, we are bringing God right where He needs to be, in our hearts.

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We get the right to make decisions- this is the summation of all of our life experiences. We all want to “do the right thing” so that we don’t mess up and fail. But, honestly, it’s better to make a bad decision and fail, rather than surrendering control of our decisions to others – and then fail. When we make a “bad decision” this is an opportunity to learn and then pivot. When we make a good decision, we can celebrate our win and gain confidence to make more decisions in the future. The point is, we shouldn’t give up this amazing power, even if we are scared. I am in the midst of a life changing decision, and I for one am very scared. I seriously do not trust myself, but I have prayed. “With Christ, I can do anything” Philippians 4:13.

READ MORE: Let’s do a new thing in 2022

Let that be an encouragement to you in month 5! Don’t give up on yourselves, we can do this. Remove every confusion and keep on moving. If you are in the middle of a big mistake, pivot, but don’t stop. Trust yourself. You got this!

For law or for relationship?

“Listen! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you at all!” Galatians 5:2

Have you ever being told to do things because “it was the law?” or “this is what we do?” But never understood the reason for doing so? I am reminded of a story about a wife, whose husband asked her why she cut part of the turkey before baking it. Her response was, “that’s the way mom did it.” She decided to call her mom, and her mom told her the same thing, “thats how mom did it.” Luckily, great-grand mom was alive and when they asked her, she told them that it was because the turkey was too big for the pot she used for the oven. It’s an interesting story, how we take to traditions, even when circumstances have changed. The writer of Galatians 5, Paul the Apostle, is making it very clear that circumcision is like the woman cutting off the end of the turkey, when the times didn’t call for it. That is, even though circumcision was a pledge to live by the rule of Law, Christ came so that we should have relationship with him and not with the law.

When we lack understanding of what we do, we simply build up yokes between us and Christ. Yokes are no good because they put a strain on the relationship we have with Christ. For that reason alone, Paul is warning us, “…if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you at all.” The yoke in this verse refers to the Law. When Paul talks about circumcision, it was a tradition that was done by every Jewish boy. Acts 15:10 says it this way, “Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?” Being tied up to the Law makes us a bit like a robot. We do not have to use our god-given ability to make choices because the law tells us what we say, what we wear, and what we do. Does that sound familiar?

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I have spent a better part of my teenage and young adult life as a Pentecostal Apostolic. Since the day I was baptized, I felt as if I had to put on a yoke of religion. The women wore hats, no pants, no jewelry, and attended church 2 to 3 times a week. No, this wasn’t normal, but when you started building relationships with the people, you’d be surprised to see how natural it was to follow the rules. You stop questioning your every thought about what you like, and replace them with what is expected. You go shopping and have to ask yourselves, what would sister so and so think when I buy this sleeve-less dress? It was a subtle way of conforming sinners to saints. But, it lasted as long as the relationships you developed lasted. In other words, once you have broken ties because of circumstances like university, or travelling or moving to a new city, those same unanswered questions begin to pop up again. Do you do the same things, even when circumstances change?

See Part II: For Freedom, He died

Robots do not think, but people do. Thoughts lead to choices, choices lead to decisions. We get to make decisions as humans because we are free. “For freedom, Christ has set us free.” Therefore, since we have been set free, Paul feels that it is important that we do not become circumcised again. Why? Christ will not be of any benefit, Paul says. My thought is that, since the Law tells us what to do, we have no need to come to God in prayer. One thing we could bring to God in prayer for instance would be the clothes we wear. Instead of listening to what a religious sect tells us; do this, and do not do that, we would be able to exercise our freedom in Christ. We can ask him what to wear [This is a basic example about clothing, but it goes for any part of our lives that concerns us]. Christ who thrives in relationship, would be all too happy to share in this aspect of our lives, and together come up with something that is both appropriate and uniquely us. This is what He does with us, if we let him, if we let go off the yokes that burdens us, and allow for relationship with the one who gives freedom.

This friend is for a lifetime

Die old flame, die

July 14, 2009 Leave a comment (Edit)

Is it true that every girl has a special someone in her life that her mind can never seem to discard? Someone whom you’ve known forever, dated, loved, at times wished you were still with him, and the reasons why you broke up in the first place seems to be vague. There are so many of my girlfriends who tell me of such a person. It’s often the high school sweethearts or the college sweethearts that make this cut but it’s the person you knew the longest, had enough time to see their dirty laundry and is unsure if you want to deal with it; but even though you’re still in another relationship, you still wonder, was he the one?

It’s not that you want to sell yourself short, or endure things that you know isn’t right. It’s just that the mind seems to be boggled up on this one person. From all the things you know about him, he is a nice person, he genuinely cares about you, he knows you well- enough to write a detailed summary of your whole life and paint a vivid picture of who you are.

The problem is, you’re unsure if he’s sincere, if you can endure the minor things about him that gets you aggravated which leads you to secretly wish for him to change. But will he change though? Has he shown any steps of improvement? Is this enough? Is he doing it now to get back with you, but when he knows he got you, he’ll return to his old self? This is the problem. You have forgiven his past behaviour but your mind can never overcome the past. It remembers what happened when you let your guard down the first time, and the second time, and even the third time. Now, is your heart wrong to feel unsure about this person? What makes him better this time? Why is he still sticking around? Is it you? or it is him?

As girls, we are trained to love and to care, to not give up on our relationships- we are emotional beings. We think that if someone authentically wants to be in our lives then why should we say no? We empathise with people on a whole. So this guy who can never seem to just disappear, who always tell you these ”nice” things that woos you everytime you talk to him, and makes you feel special for those moments is always lurking around. It’s not all his fault however, it’s your fault too. You are often the one to solicit this behaviour. More often than not, if you choose not to call or ever to correspond with this guy, the relationship dies. So the question is, why can you do that with every other relationship, including the one you are currently in, but you are so strung up on this old flame? What is it about him?

The answer to that is a mystery. Maybe he is too. The one confusing one that you can never wrap your hearts or mind around. The one that is so similiar to you, you’re starting to hate yourself for it. The one that does things to you that pisses you off and he is so comfortable in doing the pissing off, it makes you uneasy. You have to ask, how can this even work? If we live together, won’t we kill each other? Why are we arguing over stupid things? And how does the arguments start and stop so abruptly. What is it about him that my heart just cannot get enough of?

For me, it’s the fact that I know that he is the only one I have ever met that would be a perfect partner. The only one that would blend in with my family, the only one I’ve dated that comes from a similiar background as me; enjoys the same dishes as me, has similar interests as me and overall, communicates the same language as me, literally and figuratively. He is the only one that knows me so well. And inspite of our squabbles, he will still adore me because he cares. He is the only one that has stuck around the longest and still has strong feelings for me. Yet, I am still afraid that if I trust him, he will let me down. If I suggest to him that I want him, that he will turn around and flee in the opposite direction. I’m afraid that I won’t have this good of a relationship with him if I agree to date him again. So, I keep it less complicated by keeping him around. Dating others, but still feeling happy to know he is still there in my life. Is this wrong? I have no idea. But the truth is, I really don’t want him out of my life. There are some things I don’t like about him but I love what I know. And the more I think about it, I’d hate for him to marry someone else.

I cannot say why there’s always that one guy, and sadly to say he’s not always the one for us. I guess it’s just a waiting game- on life. This way, the flame won’t ever die, but it will burn slowly until one day in our lives, when we finally arrive on the same page, it might ignite with passion again. Until that day, if it ever comes, he’ll remain close and dear to your hearts. But should you choose to move on with your lives, you will also have the ability to move on without being marred emotionally.

Singleness vs the Brady Bunch

After a late afternoon bath, I feel ready to call it in for the night with only four hours of wake time. My facial creams are already on totally skipping my morning regimen, and I’m eating what feels like my bedtime snack. At four in the afternoon I’m depending on artificial lights, which totally makes it feel like night. It’s warm and cozy and I’m alone wondering whether I’d ever want to trade my current life for the Brady Bunch.

When I first woke up at 8am I thought about the errands I had for the day. Two hours later, I looked at the time and thought I really should get up. 12pm I finally rolled out of bed and went to the bathroom. As I walked into the bathroom and looked over at the overflowing laundry I thought, really, I don’t have to do this today. That left me with two things to do for the day, write an article for an online newspaper and go to the mall. The former was done in no time since I had been working on the article all weekend, but I didn’t feel like leaving my cozy apartment for anything, not even the mall. Today was going to be that day. When I’m single with no children I can do nothing. This is the pay-off after many years, 20 to be exact, of schooling. And I didn’t want to trade it in for the world. Why should I? When you’re the children in the Brady Bunch life may me great, but when you’re the grown-ups and have to provide for all 6 plus a dog, not cool!

Stress, taking on more than one can handle, is the beginning of a slow death. Being fervent on taking good advice I feel that Icouldn’t have found out sooner. I already had enough on my plate, myself, and I’m not sure if I want more. This lesson rang clear when I had to babysit on the weekend. For over two years, I’ve never had someone wake me up, yet these two little humans were knocking at my door telling me that the puppy needed to go outside. Really?! I was an hour short of my eight hours rest time. That reminds me of the kitten I decided to bring home one Sunday. I seriously thought I would love having a kitten in my home, as they say cats are low maintenance and great companions. Well that was a lie. My kitten was sitting by my room door crying because I guess she wanted companionship, and overlooking the fact that I still needed my sleep. It was only 6 in the morning and I stayed up til 2 that morning trying to play with her. I was drowsy at work for the 12 hours and worrying that the poor kitten may die from lack of companionship and would keep me up another night. Before all that would happen, I stuck her in a little bag as soon as I got home and drove her back to her owners. I was happy and I’m sure she was too. I understand that taking on too much is a stress killer, and I’m just not ready to die.

People sometimes knock adulthood, and so quickly want to get married because “they don’t want to be alone”, but if they knew what they were missing they would drop the marriage and family thing and enjoy ten more years of happiness! Why wouldn’t anyone want to be happy? I went to a single session early this month, and the pastor specifically said, “If you want to be happy, don’t get married!” Ringgg ringgg.. There goes the bell of truth. There is no better time in life than being young and single. I can drive to the U.S border in two hours or I can pamper myself at a lavish hotel with spa treatments. I can take time off from work if I want, and travel to exotic locations; coworkers do it all the time! Why would I give this life up for a lifetime with a spouse and children? This baffles me.  I set my rules and I do what I want. Ahh, freedom is rejuvenating. If all of life could have been this way I would have been happier especially as a teenager. So until I hear God calling me to marriage I think I’m just going to bask in my happiness and see how long it’ll last.

Love, the drug

What if it’s not you, it’s me.

You keep coming, yet you should’ve flee

I’m not good for you, but love has blinded you.

I’ve told you, love is a drug, but you didn’t believe

This time, I’m not the one who is addicted

I’m warning you, stay away.

You don’t listen, you keep panting

I’m playing hard to get, you keep saying

I’m not playing, I’m avoiding the drug

This time the drug is me, not you.

Relationship Woes

There are some people who can never be out of a relationship. They tend to have steady long-term relationships and they are the ones you’re certain will get married sooner or later. But, there are those of us who can never hold a relationship down. The sooner we get into a relationship is the sooner we get out of it. We are the ones who may never get married.  I used to think I was just picking the wrong guy, but now I’m starting to wonder, could it be me who is the problem?

John and I dated for exactly three months. We had a great relationship in the beginning; it was filled with my favourite word, fun. He had a lot of energy and we did all those interesting date-like events: movies, dinner, and going for walks. Somewhere before the three month point he wouldn’t call as much. I would be the one to initiate the calls. And by the three month point, my calls didn’t seem to go through. Of course, for me, that symbolized the end of another relationship. And I moved on. I’m left livid of course because I feel disrespected and I wasted my time with another idiot.

Other times, I find that I’m the one who is just not into the guy and I also don’t answer the calls as frequent as I would. The guy becomes less appealing to me in conversations on the phone or in person. I’m not impressed by the clothes he wears and I don’t feel engaged in our interactions. When I talk to him, the conversations become mundane for me, and I’m wondering how I can end this call without being rude.  When it gets to that point, I save myself the hassle by impolitely refusing to answer his calls, and of course, like me, he gets the picture.

I wonder if it’s karma though, I’m basically sowing what I reap. Because I know my relationships have all been short-lived, I’ve come to dislike dating all together. In my last few years however, I’ve made it a duty to change my approach. I’ve been putting more efforts in all my relationships; and not just with guys only. What I’ve found was a startling difference.

Jason and I were together for six months! I invested my time and energy to build our relationship. I took the time to meet his friends and family. I went out of my way to clean his apartment and to make dinner for him on weekends. There were things I didn’t want to do, but for the sake of the relationship I did it anyway. Although our relationship ended, and I was broken-hearted, what I learnt was that it’s better to put my whole heart in the relationship than not. It added more depth and meaning to both of our lives.

Now, when I analyse myself and currently building what seems like another wonderful relationship; I feel scared. Not because I’m worrying that it might end, I’m used to that, but because this might last longer than three or six months. I’m with a guy who is actually taking everything seriously. He seems committed to building our relationship and he is leaving me no choice but to do the same. I feel that I have to call him before he calls me or I have to cook for him because he drove all that way to see me. It’s not the feeling of obligation necessarily, but rather of desire.  I feel appreciated when I do those nice things because his response is encouraging. Although we’re at the beginning phases of our relationship, it feels like I’ve already achieved what I’ve spent three months building with other guys.

But while the interactions have all been nothing short of amazing, like he is everything I imagined in a guy; I’m starting to feel afraid. What if he really is the one I’m going to marry?  Will that mean I can never date again? I will never be in another three-month relationship. I can never dump another guy and get a new one. I will actually have to commit to this one relationship for the rest of my life. Other women find this to be a relief in their lives, but I’m feeling jitters in my stomach. I’m not so sure I want this kind of commitment. Where will the excitement go? What if the fun ends? What If I’m tired of waking up with the same guy on my bed? What if he snores too loud and I can’t get rid of him because it’s his room and his bed too. What should I do then?

So when I look back on my short-lived relationships, I’m thinking that this may have been my mechanism for getting out of what could become a long-term commitment. Though the separations leave me upset, I normally bounce back in no time and regain excitement from the next new guy. Now, I realized, it was never the guys who were at fault, it was me all along. I have been undeniably feeding my own fears of commitment all these years. And I’m wondering will I do the same in this ecstatic new relationship I’m in?

Oops, I did it again

Three months exactly, and he didn’t see it coming. I gave him an ultimatum and now it’s over. Is it my fault? Well it usually is. I don’t know how my subconscious mind detects timeframes. What I do is make changes that the guy just cannot live up to and expect him to change himself. Is it that I think I should get whatever I want, whenever I want? Do I think I somehow possess superpowers, so that any frog from the pond will magically change into a prince? When will I get it? At twenty-seven years old, you’d think I would learn.

All these years I’ve been dating frogs and it seems I haven’t grasped any of the lessons. I replay the same dating situations over and over again. How could I expect John to suddenly sleep elsewhere when all along he sleeps in my home when he visits? Why do I think he is now going to spend his Sundays in church with me when Sunday is the only day he gets to sleep in? After he received the ultimatum he said, “It seems like I’m being punished for all the other guys”. He found it hard to adjust to a life with me; because it would mean that his life would have had to change. He already travelled over two hours to visit me, “how much more will I have to sacrifice?” he said. I don’t blame him. I can’t tell him that I’m going to marry him when I don’t know that. So, truthfully I think John made the right choice to stay in his comfort zone. Frogs like the pond, why would they move into a castle?

I want a prince, not a frog. Why then do I keep walking to the pond hoping to find a prince? If church is so important to me, for God’s sake why don’t I just pick a guy that already goes to church? If marrying an intelligent and educated man is so important to me, why do I keep picking the ignorant? The decision seems easy but I don’t often get the details about the guy’s life until the three month point, and that’s when I realized, he wasn’t the prince I thought he was. It’s not my intension to date frogs or to change them, it’s just that while hoping for a prince and thinking I found one, I realized, he’s nothing but a frog.

At three months though, I never cling to the frog when I realize that’s what he is. I throw them back in the pond and I move on. The mistake I make is that I always find a different pond to look. So it is my fault, not John’s. John was wonderful, better than any other guy I met. Sure there were a few things that I disliked, but all together he was ideal. My only requirement was that he needed to commit to God and commit to going to church. And knowing what I know about him, he would have gone to church with me and enjoyed it. But when you add the fact that he doesn’t live in the same country as I do and it was getting expensive to see me, choosing to be with me would just be too much. John wasn’t just a frog, he was closer to being a prince and although we ended it, I’m wondering if a divine presence could work things out, for I now know that I do not possess any superpowers.

When I do start searching again, I will use my own intelligence and do more of an in-depth examination of the man; to be sure he is not another frog. Now, I know my prince is not going to magically appear, I’m going to have to find him in a castle and not the usual ponds I like to frequent.

Peter- Patter

Words are hard to find sometimes, especially when you’re seeking for the perfect word to describe someone-

How do you do it though, you concoct the exact string of syllables to eloquently woo my heart, without even trying-

Before I’d leave the phone feeling ecstatic about the amazing depth we’ve arrived at,

Simply through a display of words-

But now, I feel fluttery, for some reason I’m sparking like a fire cracker-

I’m recollecting myself, and still preparing for the next blow tonight, how do you do it?

Do you have some secret that I just don’t know about yet?

Do you carry ammunition in your words?

Please share with me your secret, for I’m seeking for the perfect words to tell you how my heart is going peter-patter for you.

The Wedding Night

The days I wake up,
I’m still lost in a dream about you-
Like the neverending story or the
song about a lamb that just keeps going and going-
The thoughts vary and I never get bored,
I dream about a life of pleasure with no pain,
what more could a man want from a woman he loves.

I dream of resting my head between your bossom,
the same ripe fruits that solomon sings about,
It’s nice to have two of my own-
Life cannot be the same without you, girl
I have a special melody in my head
I play it off and on when my thoughts rest on you.

You make me feel special,
Everytime I imagine those beautiful brown eyes-
Those curvy thighs,
And the plump buttock-
The thought that God created such a gift for me,
wrapped in white, makes me shed tears of joy.

I have waited long enough,
and I can hardy wait for tonight,
The excitment is killing me,
I’m going to unwrap you girl,
And make love on our wedding night
I’m going to whisper in your ear,
all the things that I’ve been meaning to tell you-
And everynight I will send a prayer to God,
Thanking him for bringing you into my life,
And for making my dreams a reality.

Friend for a lifetime?

Have you ever had that friend who knew you so well, you thought he could be your perfect companion? He knows the exact words to say; and when you have a problem, he listens as you sift through it. He gives you all his time, until all has been resolved. And provides you with just the emotional support you need. He has become your best friend, your source of joy, fun, happiness- your everything. All in a span of months.

Prior to knowing him, your life was good and you were happy with all the people in it. But after meeting this friend, he added so luxuriantly to your once ‘ok’ life- so much that you wondered if life would ever be the same without him. How could it? Who would be that source of inspiration? That psychologist that listens and somehow understands? Honestly, who would be that person that makes talking on the phone a hobby, and every conversation to be meaningful and wholesome? Nobody.

Certainly noone could ever replace this friend, and equally certain- if he was removed from your life, you would be devastated. I would. I agree that I would find a replacement, but knowing how I feel about this friend in my life, makes it unimaginable to have him gone. My friend also has integrated me in his life entirely. He has shared his best experiences and his worse with me. He has entrusted me with his secrets and allowed me in his world. I have also done the same for him, because we share this compelling need to disclose details to each other. And in every engagement, new details arise and each appointment brings us closer as companions.

He nicknamed me “leech”, but while I am tremendously benefitting from his gift of wisdom; I’d like to think I’m offering him something as well. I’m providing him with a goldmind filled with experiences of which I share with him freely. I’ve given him unconditional time, just as he’s done for me. And most importantly, I chose to be his friend. Those benefits can last for a lifetime, if providence allows. However long we know each other, we have been a blessing in each other’s lives.

What I do hope is that this friend will outlast all the others- that this friend will blossom into a soulmate because of our kindred spirit. Because of the way I always wish for him to be within my reach. Because of how we converse for hours on end. It is unfathomable how prior to those few months, we did not know each other, yet we were happy. Now, it’s hard to envision life without my friend. What I am imagining is how I can keep him in my life. Not that I previously thought of him as a partner, but the more our friendship grows the closer we’re getting to that impeccable union. The point of concern is that neither of us has discussed this state of discomfort, in spite the myriads of other discussions we’ve had. Of course, I cannot allude that our feelings are mutual and I do not wish to confront the issue. But I’m having a difficult time submerging these intense thoughts and feelings. I’m left in a state of bewilderment because I don’t know what to do.

My past dictates that the men I date never stick around after the termination of the relationship; or rather I erase them from my life. This friend of mine is too worthwhile and significant for me to put him in such a condition where there might be a chance of elimination. I’d rather keep him on a pedestal of my list of friends. However, it is undoubtedly difficult to have extreme desires for someone you consider a friend. What can I do in this instance, I’d like to know?

No other friend has bonded with me so effortlessly- has inquiried about my whole life story and knows more about me than even those closest to me has. Within a very short period of time, this friend has become so familiar with my patterns of behaviour, it’s hard to pretend. I have never experienced the type of chemistry between another friend; and interestingly it grows in every instant that we communicate. Life certainly brings amazing people into our lives: some are for a moment, others are for a season, and the best are those that comes for a lifetime. My hope is that this friend will be the latter.