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This Is The Friends Helping Friends Helping Friends Edition
I have a good friend who has been going through a bit of a rough patch as of late. The details of his struggles aren’t important. In simplest terms, he’s working through a mid-life crisis – married, kids, his parents are divorced…based on those tidbits, it’s not that hard to guesstimate where he’s at.
He’s at a crossroads.
And last week, he asked me to meet him there, at those crossroads. I was pretty concerned when he said he wanted to get together and get some things off his chest – it wasn’t his normal way of speaking. In the past, we’ve had conversations of “What if’s” and “If only’s”, but this time, I sensed a big difference. I was really worried. So near the end of the week, we met at a local park, and he talked about all the different and converging things weighing on his mind and heart.
He talked, and I listened. Mostly. I brought along a “friend” to make sure he wasn’t considering doing anything stupid like.
He laughed when I showed him my friend. We’ve known each other long enough where we’ve earned the trust, that we’d keep each other on the straight and narrow – with force, if necessary.
Looking back on it now, perhaps on a subconscious level, I was reminding him – and me – that we are called to bear our crosses.
After an hour or so, my friend seemed more centered and at peace – he had revealed that his wife had agreed to start marriage counseling, which was good to hear. And I hope that whatever I told him was helpful.
As it turned out, he didn’t do or say anything too stupid like. Which was a great relief.
What I hadn’t expected was how our conversation – which was 95% about him and what he’s going through – affected me. Not just on our friendship, but how’s it caused me to evaluate my own life, and the relationships with the people I love and live with. I don’t mean in a “there but for the grace of God go I” sort of way, or “thank God I don’t have his problems”. Believe me – I have problems. Who doesn’t? No, this was more in the way of “am I being the husband and father God has called me to be?”, and I got the message loud and clear – I can, and must, do better.
It’s like this – it’s a given that we aren’t meant to walk our paths to holiness alone. Firstly, we walk with Christ. Secondly, we walk with others. Some of us make that journey with our spouses, others with friends, or with our families. And if we’re really thick-headed and obstinate and need super-sized portions of help, God sends all three. That’s the category I fall in.
So in the end, we helped each other. It’s how friendships work, I suppose. I thought I was there merely to listen and help my friend bear his cross. But God’s grace spilled over, and my burden was eased as well, allowing me to see things going on in my life a bit more clearly. It wasn’t intended, it just happened that way.
As it turned out, my “friend” – the wooden one – was there more for my sake.
Random Unrelated Video Clip:
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