What were the last five questions you asked your best friend?
I don’t know the statistic, but I’m sure you’ve noticed the routine. The first few times you talk to someone, you discover about 70% of everything you’ll ever learn about them. I enjoy introducing long-term friends to each other. By the end of the night, I usually know at least one new thing or one thing I’d forgotten about each of them. I want to study my friends better, to dig in their attics a bit and unpack the memories, letters and clothes. It’s so important to me that I’m actually going to share an upcoming project with you soon.
All good stories have a bit of suspense, eh?
For today, I want to look at the reason we enjoy our oldest friendships, even when we’re not eagerly flipping their pages for the first time. There’s a level where only a few friends belong, the level of just being. If my best friend walks into the room I’m already in, I feel at home. I may have thought I was there before her arrival, but a hug from her turns the key and I discover I’m on the porch. Some friends have that effect on a person, and it’s a stronger force than interesting conversation or deep emotional sharing or world-changing joint efforts. Don’t get me wrong, all of those things are important, but I can do them with strangers. With those who know us best, we can hang without saying a thing. Being able to simply exist near someone without trying to impress them—that’s tar for the streets of the soul. It expands to keep you together when things get hot, and it doesn’t crack when things get cold. It’s also why friendships suffer a bit when we only communicate by text or other media—we need time to just be together.
This weekend, I went to a gospel sing-along at Nightbirds Books in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Harmony and stand-up bass was great, the guitarist had us laughing and snapping, and the pianist kept the songs coming. The sang some old hymns we all knew and added protest verses to a few. Think Woody Guthrie gets Old Time Religion. They sang a song that makes me wrinkle my eyebrows and laugh, but also reminds me that we’re supposed to have child-like faith. “Jesus on the mainline, tell Him what you want….” Kids ask for everything, even when we tell them no, right? At the end of the song, I wanted to add, “Make sure to ask what God wants, too!” It wasn’t my show, though.
On my way home from Fayetteville, I stopped at Natural Falls in Siloam Springs. I’ve been multitasking during my devotional time, multitasking during everything really—it’s been a BUSY week. I needed space. I needed to stop before I got home, where I’d be surrounded by things to do. I needed to notice God’s work around me and look at His face instead of my plans and just be. I walked for awhile and took pictures. I waited for an inch worm to vacate a bench. I’m not much of a sitter, but I felt the need to just sit still because while I walked, my eyes were continuously looking around. My mind was wandering in every direction. Sitting still, I focused completely on God. I talked to Him for a few minutes, and then rose to walk. After a few steps, I thought, “Wait, I didn’t ask if You were done, Lord.” I sat back down and the persistence made room for peace to grow. A wind gently rushed in, then held silently, the size of a large hand soft but strong against my arm. The nearly solid but gentle pressure remained for a long time, like God was just putting his arm around me.
Do you believe God made the wind?
Then God can use the wind like a hand.
Friends don’t always have to talk.
Psalm 46:10 NIV Be still and know that I am God.
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