I have a friend named Man. He entered my small group of those I call friends about a year ago. I have just a few people in my life that I elevate to status of “friend” but I’m proud to say he is one of them.
We were introduced by our pastor. Emails, turned into occasional trips to hang out at a local restaurant, to laughing at each other’s dry humor, to being vulnerable and admitting to one another that we don’t have it figured out and that life is full of some really hard challenges
Man has put up with a lot of my difficultisms….when we first me I was sure I could answer all the questions he had about Christ, Christianity, the bible and so on. I soon discovered that it wasn’t the brain he was so much worried about as it was the heart. I swallowed my humble pill.
I’ve been going through some challenges over the past year and Man will sit and listen to me dominate the conversation for 85 out of 90 minutes. The next day I will feel bad and text him to apologize for talking so much. He always says to stop apologizing for that
Man puts up with my moods. Sometimes I happy and sometimes I’m a grouchy old bear. Man never seems to waiver. He just eats this weird stuff called Kuchen (dessert from hell) and lets me ride my roller coaster
Like a good friend can, Man knows when life is biting me in the butt even when I am not around. I will get this out of the blue text from him simply asking “Everything OK?” Its as if God has hardwired him to know when I’m down. It is almost creepy at time.
I appreciate Man because he lets me be excited for the often odd things I enjoy. He will ask penetrating questions as though he is equally enthralled. He has patiently listened to me talk about woodworking, butterfly gardening, a scribble-scrabble Easter cartoon about Jesus that made me tear up and funny twitter sites – never once seeming annoyed or wanting the conversation to change direction
One of Man’s great strengths is his love for truth. He is big on truth. He will tell me if he disagrees with my thoughts – and I like that. No fake patronizing. Because of that his opinion means a lot. He isn’t going to say what simply makes me happy, nor will he lie to me. Rare.
In “Old Dogs Children and Watermelon Wine”, Tom T Hall says “Friends are hard to find when they discover that you’re down.” Brother that is the truth. I’ve noticed in my life, the real friend is the one that runs to you (like a fireman to a fire) when your struggling in life. The real friend is the one that hurts when you hurt, and doesn’t drown it by cheap “I’m praying for ya” platitudes
I’m hurting right now. A lot. I’m dealing with a string of events that I’m not overly surprised to be dealing with, but it is still painful. Man is there. And I’m happy that he’s there. God put him in my life just early enough for me to trust him and his friendship.
Someday this darkness will pass. And the sun will shine all the brighter. But while the shadows of darkness loom, I’m glad to have such a buddy in my life.