Wednesday, January 14, 2009

a thread through time

life never fails to enliven my days
with joys
in the form of people.

When I was 15, I went to a church youth conference.
I honestly don't remember a lot from the conference itself
except that it was flippin fun.
A group of high school aged kids from my church road tripped to Michigan
and spent a week
high on God

I met Michael that week. I believe he was 17. I was 15.
I wish I could tell you when, why, how we connected.
I don't remember. I remember laughing
Michael was a Jesus freak hippy.
Adorable. Long, dark hair, blue eyes, an unpretentious "i'm cool" way of dressing....
he played guitar. my complete weakness.
I would sing along with him floating in bliss.
He was also funny. hilarious.
singing and laughing.
singing and laughing.

Our relationship played out as a friendship
chaste and God focused.
But oh, did I love him.

He trumped everyone, and everything.
In the following years, there were phone calls.... phone bills
travel to see him
the kind of youth drenched, innocent immersion in another
that great summer movies are made of.

As I moved into college, Michael faded into the background a bit.
more and more.
I never stopped caring, I never stopped loving him.
Just -- sort of like your childhood bedroom.
It's always there, you love it, you want it to be there
but you just don't think about it as much anymore.

I had relationships, graduated from college, started a career,
spent time at a church, had my heart broken, married.....

Mike and I have had a sort of "Christmas card" friendship for the past
several years. There have been a couple phone calls - but none that
dove past the "how've you been, whatcha up to, how is your family" line of conversation.

Sometime in the past months, we connected again through email and i
happened to ask if he had an instant messenging program. He did.
I added his name, and then forgot.

Last week, his name was lit up.
My heart skipped a beat.
See, as valuable and meaningful and impactful as Mike
has been to the formation of so many things about me, I had a fear of
talking to him in depth.

Part of the foundation of my friendship with Michael was our
shared devotion and unwavering love of Jesus.
Christianity - radical and unapologetic.
Jesus freaks laughing and loving singing and knowing.

In the past decade or so, my heart's awareness of it's maker
and the requirements that maker places on us as children
have changed dramatically.
If you know me, you know that I am pretty brave.
Outspoken, clear.
I will share the way my soul feels about such things with the best of them.
But with those who's very hearts break at the thought of me becoming a
"lost sheep"?
I tend to steer clear.

The thought of facing the "How is your walk with the Lord" talk
has often made me weak in the knees.
I never want to disappoint people that I love.
And I know the kind of disappointment that goes along with
finding out someone you once shared your most intimate life view
no longer shares it.

Michael and I began to chat.
Maybe it was the media -- the format,
but all formal illusion fell away, and as soon as I knew it, we were laughing
and talking and joking as if the past 25 years hadn't passed at all.
A connection that transcened every major and minor detail
that has colored the landscape of our lives since then.

In a moment of "what the hell",
a level of trust had been established... I broached the scary subject.
Couched in vague hues,
I told him.... that my relationship with Christianity had altered
dramatically. Before he could respond, I confessed that my
heart had feared
telling him.


"You'll be relieved to know that mine has too"

We talked about it.
Though our stories don't mirror one another's,
and we may not be exactly on the same page,
I felt like floodgates had opened.
I was accepted by this person
that I had loved so much.
respected beyond reason.

Would it have mattered if my fears had come to pass?
If he had offerred up judgement or disappointment or
attempts at convicing me otherwise?

I think so.

Would I have judged him in turn?
I hope not. I guess I can't say. I hope not.

All I know is that again,
a friendship, clothed in the back drop of time
has re-emerged for me
into a new and meaningful

I am so grateful.

It makes me want to