So Monday he calls me. We usually talk every week or two - sometimes about nothing, other times there is an agenda or a specific reason that's church related. "I'm just calling to check on you" he said. (this was prior to yesterday's blog post, by the way). "I'm good," I replied. I shared some frustration I was having with message preparation and a couple of other church things and shared a piece of personal good news I had gotten. But twice more during our 15 minute conversation he asked, "Are you sure you're ok?" I peeled a layer each time, but pretty much ended where I started - "I'm ok. I'm doing well."
Later that evening, my phone again and his name was on the screen. "I had to call you back," he said. "Since we talked earlier, I kept thinking about our conversation and...I'm just not sure you were completely honest with me earlier about being OK. I'm not sure you're telling me everything."
Everybody needs a friend like that!
A real friend calls again. He or she risks ticking you off by making that statement: "I'm not sure you told me the truth." And some people do get offended by such a question. But smart people would never rebuff such an inquiry from a good friend, because we understand that their motive is to help you take your mask off...and sometimes you don't even know you're wearing it.
I wasn't deliberately hiding anything...but the call pressed me to take a harder look, talk through some things, and see what I previously was missing. He prayed for me and I hung up and thought, "Now that is a good friend."
Real friends call again. If you don't have a friend like that, be deliberate. While this is true for everyone...Pastors - this is especially a message for you, because I know many of you don't have a friend who calls again. That kind of friendship won't usually happen for you on its own...you have to be intentional. Those kinds of friends are around, and even though they take time to develop, they are worth it.