Early Wednesday morning, I took a stroll down our street. As I walked, the fallen leaves of the year that was crunched beneath my boots. The sun was just beginning to peak its round face over the Oklahoma horizon. The air was cool, and the north wind was tickling the nape of my neck. I turned left at the cross street and walked slightly uphill (because slightly uphill is about all you can do in central Oklahoma) and up the driveway of my friend.
The previous Sunday evening, I received a text from a neighbor in our community group, asking me if I’d be up to meet once a week, early morning before we each head off to work. It would be a chance for us to talk, pray, read the Bible…or just catch up.
Heck yes! I was totally down with it.
After Sunday night, the week had gone really sideways for me…internally, I guess you could say. I’m still dealing with a lot of anger and bitterness about things in my past, and disgruntled about some things going on right now in the present. It all boiled over Monday and Tuesday. I know, I know…that’s not good, cheer up, tally-ho…think positive, chin up! I know…it just wasn’t working.
I wasn’t in a good place. I said some pretty stupid and selfish things to someone dear to me who had the audacity (I’m being sarcastic) to call to ask for prayer. When I was at work, I could focus but as soon as I got in the truck and headed home I was a wreck. As such, not much help to Amanda or the kids, either.
Sometimes you just can’t lift your head.
Sometimes you need someone to do it for you.
The effect of simply sitting down with another human being, drinking good coffee and sharing life is hard to quantify. The act of knowing and being known…it’s such a vital part of life, and yet it’s one we take for granted, or worse, avoid. Honestly, I didn’t realize how much I needed it until the past two years. I didn’t realize how important relationships truly are. I took so many friendships for granted, or simply entered into them in “ministry mode” and therefore couldn’t really let my guard down and truly hear the other person.
Having most of your relationships severed, either by distance or disagreement, is not easy. I’d never walked that road before, not to this extent, anyway. The hard part is even the good relationships that endure are strained by the miles. Facetime and text message just aren’t the same as face-to-face and conversation.
So Wednesday morning, as we sat in my friend’s living room and talked, it was truly good for my soul. It was, to borrow a phrase, life-giving. It didn’t make all the problems go away. It didn’t magically make it all ok. But what it did was make me realize we’re not alone. We’re not forgotten.
It made me want to go home and kiss my wife and thank her for encouraging me unceasingly, for supporting me in the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, and for putting up with me when I’m a wreck. It made me want to hug my kids and tell them I’m sorry for being there in body but absent in mind.
It wasn’t a cure-all, but as my friend said, it was the start of something good. A new tradition. It was a step. It was, like the sun coming up that morning, a reminder of new mercies.