I was speaking last night for the Northside Church of Christ in San Antonio, something I get to do every summer. Their first invitation came in July of 1999. They’ve been asking me back for 17 years.
It’s a sweet relationship, with strong connections, and an opportunity to see old friends.
LATE NIGHT COFFEE
After the service I was visiting with members and talking with some of their staff. Their Preaching Minister and Associate Minister have been there forever, are excellent at what they do, and are just really good guys.
But the highlight of the evening was going out for coffee with a dear friend that used to be in my congregation. They moved to West Texas four years ago but make the effort to be at Northside when I speak.
THE JOY OF FRIENDSHIP
My friend was glad to see me, as far as I can tell, but not nearly as glad as I was. There is something special about getting caught up with old freinds over good coffee. It was great.
Here are some thoughts about catching up with old friends:
- Seeing they are getting older too.
- Hearing about their kids and family.
- Learning how they have grown, changed, and developed.
- Reminiscing about shared memories and experiences.
- Renewing the bonds of friendship.
On reflection, those five things ring a little left-brain to me. They are good, but lack a certain something.
Here is another list:
- Asking my questions I was overjoyed at the answers.
- I rejoiced in the blessings God has blessed them with.
- Was deeply grateful to have such a good friend.
- Was reminded once again about the value of connection.
- I left feeling a strong sense of pride in my friend.
THE SOCIAL ISLAND
At times it’s appealing to live on a social island, being cut off from people. The social island is a lonely place to be, a lonely way to exist.
It does offer a sense of protection, a kind of barrier between you and others. Sometimes we seek the island when we are in crisis, pain, and grief. It can be comforting, and even healthy, to be someplace where we can reserve our energy; and take some time to take care of us.
But don’t stay too long.
PEOPLE ARE MESSY
People can be messy: emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Friendship with genuine connection risks transparency and exposure. It requires vulnerability. And it flows both ways. They get access to our weaknesses, foibles, and flaws, and we to theirs. It can be messy.
As the years go by, I’m finding a fresh openness to new friends, to deeper connections, and have a growing appreciation for the friends I have.
To my late-night coffee buddy: Thank you very much!