Do you have a best friend? Someone who has traveled through life with you so long that they can remember stories about you that you even forgot happened (or would at least like to forget happened)? This weekend, two of our dearest friends came to visit us.
Jeff met Julian as a freshman in high school when he lived in the furlough homes across the courtyard from his new MK friend from Hong Kong. After a year together at Wheaton Central High (yes, Jeff is so old that school is gone now), the boys continued to keep in contact with one another. Both choosing Wheaton College, they decided to room together and their friendship has flourished since then. When they get together they like to listen to old 80’s heavy metal music and sometimes even play their guitars. They swap stories about family and work and eventually end up on the topic of Jesus.
Shortly after marrying, we moved to Colorado where Julian and his wife were also living. As young couples, we met periodically to share meals and our lives with one another. We even visited Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons together one summer. As I’ve gotten to know Julian for myself, there are a few things I have grown to love about him. The first thing: His love for Jeff. Julian knows Jeff has flaws but loves him despite them and maybe even because of them. The second thing: Julian’s intentionality. As a critical thinker, he has the ability to analyze a situation and articulate what he wants and needs and then takes action. Last year he talked with Jeff about deepening their friendship and holding one another accountable for spiritual growth. A few months later, he cleared his calendar to fly out to our house and spend time with Jeff so that they could do just that. The third thing: His compassionate heart. Ten years ago, our oldest daughter unexpectedly arrived three months early and Julian and his wife were among the first people to join us at the hospital to pray for her even though they lived a few hours away. When I telephoned Julian after Jeff’s surgery, he asked me if I needed him to come right away. Julian acts on the compassion that fills his heart and I love that about him.
Molly…what can I say about my dear friend, Molly. We lived on the same floor our freshman year, played on the tennis team together and even spent a semester studying abroad together in Jamaica. We auditioned for theater parts together and I’m sure we didn’t get roles just because her dad was the theater professor! Molly has loved me at times when I haven’t been so lovable. She can make me laugh like no one else can and she has seen me cry when no one else has. Molly showed up ten years ago too when my 1 pound 11 oz daughter was born, ready to support and encourage me in every way she could. This weekend she cried with me as I shared about Jeff’s journey and she helped me to clean up vomit in the middle of the night from my middle daughter, after eating too much candy at the 4th of July parade. She held hands with my girls, played endless princess games with them and fed them dinner so I could spend some time with my husband alone.
I’m thankful for enduring friendships that God has given to me and Jeff with Molly and Julian. These friendships help us taste of the community that our Godhead experiences as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Live and dwell in community admonishing, encouraging and growing with one another. It’s hard work, but so worth it.