My girlfriend who lived next to me when she and I were birthing our babies blogged today about the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I have another gal pal that I've known even longer than that. She lived next to me from the time I was six until I was married at age eighteen. She and her furry, four-legged "babies" came to spend the night so that we could take the babies on their first-ever romp on the beach.
Between our two homes their were a total of twelve children, four boys and eight girls. She and my deceased little sister were inseparable, and thought nothing of challenging even the most monstrous of the men in our lives. This friend took over the running of her mother's household when her mother took to her bed, which was most of every day.
To say that this friend was a scrapper in our youth would be a gross understatement. We both came from very abusive "Christian" households where forgiveness wasn't even possible without serious punitive penance being first served. The only way she knew to solve a problem was to come out swinging; it was either that or take to her own bed. This simply wasn't her nature, and somebody had to keep things going at her house. Needless to say, this friend developed some sharp edges. I contend that these situations mess up the sibling dynamic because the in-charge sibling isn't seen as an equal to the other children.
My sister was this friend's sister. In a sense I too was a sister to her, but she saw me as her older sister since I was a year and a half older than she was. Being an older sibling in our homes meant that I was no fun and not to be trusted not to snitch. Little did my siblings know that I'd rather have my tongue cut out than to report them to the monsters. I finally had to stop watching what they were doing in their rage against the hypocrisy of our "faith."
Now this friend is the picture of peace and tranquility. She has taken on the care of her parents in their last years and seems to fairly float through her daily life. Never did I think she could become so serene. Even with the misuse of religion in our homes, she somehow soaked up the knowledge of needing to connect to a Holy Spirit inside herself and her parents.
She has tried finding it in church, but continued to feel hypocrisy coming from that community. She's now a devotee of yoga, where she has obviously connected to The Spirit as is seen in the fruits that she now displays: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. How beatifically beautiful she has become!