26 Mar Who We Become
Today’s my best friend’s birthday! No, not my wife. Her birthday is Sunday (happy birthday, Chica)! But it’s my best guy friend’s birthday. He and I had a great conversation this morning. And though he’s several thousands of miles away and we don’t get to talk as often as we once did, when we do talk, it’s as if we haven’t missed a beat.
I have a few friends like that. How about you? The type of friend who, though you may be physically distanced, when you get together, even virtually or via text, it’s such a joy. You become more, well… you. Parts of you that haven’t been seen in a while come to life, and you remember.
This friend, in particular, I’ve known since we were twelve. He’s more of a “brother from another mother” than a friend. We’ve had the unique opportunity to go through middle and high school together – then college, our young adult lives, stand in one another’s weddings and support each other through the birth of our kiddos. Now we get to walk through family life together, and though we remain several thousands of miles apart, we’re still connected.
I can honestly say he still makes me better. A better friend. A better brother. A better father. A better person.
But he didn’t just arrive at the better version, if you will, of me.
He’s been there in some shape, form, or fashion for the better part of two decades. It’s taken a lot of relational work, and yeah, he knows where all of the skeletons reside.
But as we reminisced about a great birthday present I got him years ago, the best birthday present he’s ever gotten (his words, not mine), we both found that we had forgotten parts of this particular story.
We participated in an adventure race. We raced around the city on foot completing obstacles, solving riddles, and traveling miles, upon miles, upon miles.
I’d forgotten that we got stuck in our canoe as we raced across the lake. He’d forgotten that on the last challenge, I couldn’t finish it alone, though I tried. He was able to complete his part and help me complete mine. We secured second place!
We laughed. We got tired just thinking about it. We were transported back through time to those moments – moments that were a part of our friendship and who we were becoming all these years later.
And though we each married and became husbands, fathers, entrepreneurs, etc., at heart, we are still two middle school boys, fumbling awkwardly through the adventures of becoming more of who we are called to be in Christ. And thankfully, we get to walk through that together.
One of my hopes for Mosaic Students is the same. Our middle schoolers and high schoolers are awesome. They’re hilarious (sometimes on purpose). They’re dramatic. They’re complicated. And they are a ton of fun.
But most importantly, middle school and high school students are at a stage in their lives when they desperately need someone to hang out with them, love them (and like them too), and show them what it looks like to follow Jesus.
And, Church, you’ve done that so often and so well over the years. Thank you!
Thank you for engaging in their lives by asking questions when you pass by them in the parking lot – for asking them how they’re doing, asking how they are processing this past year, asking how they have coped with missing so many milestones. Thank you for checking in to see if they’re moving through the year in healthy ways and finding out what they are looking forward to and hoping towards. And thank you for encouraging them to keep Jesus on repeat in their lives, no matter the cost.
We all need friendships, relationships, like that. There’s a direct correlation between the quality of our lives and the quality of our relationships. After all, who we become isn’t just up to us as individuals. We’re called to be a part of something so.much.bigger.
I couldn’t imagine going through life without a friend like that. But the reality is most people will go through all of life without a friend or any type of relationship like I described.
In fact, Barna Research shows that most people claim to have less than two close friends.
Study after study on friendship has shown when asked about the number of friends people have who they can talk with about their personal troubles or celebrate triumphs, etc., one in four people share that they have no one to talk with (if family members are removed as an option, that number of people without someone to talk to increases in many cases).
As we come back together in person over the next few months, let’s not just aim to reclaim what once was, but to become what we’ve been called to…dear children, a chosen people, a holy community, God’s very own. Our students need it, and perhaps you do too!
You’ve We’ve got this,