In this age of technology, God has taken the internet and used it to his advantage. Today we are all connected through it, and relationships are built around social networks. Friendships, real friendships, blossom through the grace of our Lord.
“I prayed for an end to your writer’s block,” my friend said.
It was startling because it was off-topic. One minute; we were discussing the outcome of an unrelated team effort. The next minute; she spoke those words. I did not give a ‘thank you’ in return. Instead, I changed the subject to get back on track.
As I slept last night, I swear that something deep within me clicked. It was akin to a bondage being snapped; a locked door reopened, a chain unlocked, flat tires miraculously reflated. I awoke, and immediately reached for my laptop, because it was time to write. I sprung from the bed and moved with a purpose.
“What are you doing,” my wife asked.
“I gotta write. Right now, I have to write. When the Lord calls you to action, you move.”
Can I get an Amen?
As I waited for the laptop to fire up, smiling faces appeared in my mind. Some were as familiar as my own, while others were only social network photographs, giving face to the personalities I’ve come to know through the words they write every day. These are friends. Not acquaintances, but true friends.
At this very moment, I still see them. Each one of them placed in my life at specific times, when God knew their companionship would be needed. Each friend, whether an old faithful, or a new gem, has touched my life and effected my personal growth in more ways than I can count. I have a need to thank each one noted, as well as those not mentioned. Every one of you, make me who I am.
Eric is my oldest and “best-est” friend, second only to Mourice. They are my brothers from different mothers, who would drop anything and everything immediately to help me, should an emergency arise. Growing up through adolescence, they were right by my side; into manhood, and into faith. That bond remains today.
Andre and Ayana are my heart ties. They are my younger siblings and my friends. They have shared a lifetime of ups and downs with me. Together, we still share in each other’s joys and sorrows. When one of us hurt, we all hurt. When one see’s the light of success, we all rejoice.
Joe is my anti-hero. My brother-in law carries the spirit of Jesus deep within his soul, though he might not be willing to admit it yet. He inspires me to do better, because whatever he sets his mind to do is accomplished before he even lifts a finger to action. He’s just that driven. Whether it’s writing, music, or acting, he just gets it done. Along the way, he encourages me; he challenges me to get outside of my logical mind and go with the gut feeling. Of course I call it Faith. In the army surrounding Ennis, Joe is my rogue sniper. You never really know where he is, you just know he’s out there somewhere, and that he’s guarding your back.
Misty is my indescribable miracle friend. How can one put the love of Jesus into mere words? How can I possibly explain the natural beauty of a clear starlit sky, without stumbling over its breath taking sight? I’ve known her for less time than my brothers and my siblings. Yet she is the friend God chose for me. She loves me at my best, at my worse, and continues to function as my right hand. If the world turned against me today, I have the faith that she would fight by my side despite all obstacles. Hell unleashed would not make her run from my side. She is more than my friend; more than my wife; she’s my true north star and without her, I am nothing. She makes me want to be a better man, and a better friend.
Those friends have seen me walk through a lifetime of spiritual death, and emerge a new man. God, in his all-knowing and merciful ways, saw fit to bring a legion of new friends into my life, once he grafted me into his family. These are friends who keep me grounded in the faith of our Lord. Some are inner circle, while others are close at heart, if far away in distance.
I see Rich and Rob, two young men with a passion for the Lord, unmatched by anyone else I know personally. When these two brothers get together, Hell is in serious trouble, because the Lord is strong with them. They pray, they worship, they fellowship and Jesus shows up. These men, along with Brian and Craig, are soldiers to stand with. I’d take up spiritual arms in the name of Jesus, with these men, anytime.
I see Trish, Sarah, Tina, Sherry, Lisa, and Seneta. These women are devoted to the Lord. They each encourage me more than they know. It’s not their outward acts, but their inner spirit and duty to God’s authority that makes them so powerful. God’s light shines through the cracks of their old and changed lives and that radiance is peaceful. I know I can count on them to support me in my choices.
I see my brother, Tomas, Jr. This man and I once fought against one another, in past lives. Through the grace of our Lord, we now fight alongside one another. He is one of my closest friends who, like Eric and Mourice, would drop everything should the need arise. I love him more than he knows; more than I tell him. It’s an ego thing God’s still purging from my system, I guess. When we are fellowshipping together, I know the Lord is with us.
I see you CJ. Though we may have worked side by side for just a short time, you will always be a trusted brother. God brought you to me, just as he was imploding my old life. I didn’t realize then what a blessing it was to have you by my side, quietly guiding me toward the light. In fact, it wasn’t until I fully accepted Jesus that I realized what God had been up to pairing us. You are a true friend, and I love you man.
I see you Andrea, Shunbe, Sam, Julie, Frankie, Dave Simmons and Billy. You’re all a respected source of encouragement for me, where this writing “thing” is concerned. I know that if something comes off as bogus or feels forced, you’ll let me know. At the same time, you’re words of praise humble and strengthen my need to continue writing. Thank you for supporting me, friends.
Tabbie, Ken, Sean, and Brooke; I see you too. Sometimes, it amazes me that I know more about your lives through game chat, than I do some of my Facebook acquaintances. But, isn’t that just like our God, to bring true friends to the front of the large crowd? It’s a joy to spend time with you in our world, because even there, we’re watching each other’s backs and praising the Lord at the same time. Brooke, I cannot thank you enough, dear friend. You prayed, and he answered. How awesome is that? I’ve got more ideas floating around my head, this morning than I know what to do with.
I didn’t name you all, but I think you know who you are (Marlon, Adrian and Steve). Together, all of my friends make me who I am today; some by walking side by side with me each day, while others walk with me via the internet, every few days. I thank God for each of you. Some of you have been taking for granted over the years, and I sincerely apologize for that. That’s not God’s plan for us. You are appreciated.
My friends have walked me through the death of a parent, the trials of addictions, and the successes that come with redemption. My friends will be with me forever. I hope to see more of them come to the Faith of our Lord, Jesus. Which brings me to one last mentionable, but certainly not the least:
Lord…you’re the best man I know. You know every move I’m going to make before I make the six moves prior to that one. And yet, you stand by my side, gently guiding me every day. You could have turned your back on me, when I called out to you in 2000. You knew then, that I was just asking for a band aid to cover my wounds. You knew it would take another eight years for me to finally get it. Despite my idiocy, you protected me from real harm along the way. How am I ever supposed to repay that type of generosity? Of course you know the answer to that, too. You know I can’t, and yet you continue to love me in spite of myself. You give me assignments to do, and I shirk them off. When I finally make up my mind to follow your lead, you show me something extraordinary; something I never knew was inside of me, to begin with.
You are my best friend, above all others. That’s why I saved you for last. Thank you for saving my pitiful life, and working to transform it into something you can use. I know it’s not easy, because I can be a pain in the butt. You’ve given me plenty of help along the way, and I look forward to each new day, to see what I can do for you. Thank you for the wonderful array of friends you’ve blessed me with. I love you, Jesus.