Sitting here in the Portland airport on my way back home to Anchorage. Just spent a couple hours with some really good friends on the back end of a work trip. One friend is a young friend. By young I mean our friendship is relatively new in the scope of my almost 49 years. He loves me and I know it. I am grateful God has brought him and his family into my life.
The other friend, I’ve known closer to ten years but he’s the kind of friend who because of the “life” we’ve shared, when I’m with him I think this is what it must feel like to have had a buddy you carry with you from the fifth grade. Our ten years feel like 30. He’s a friend who has dreamed big kingdom dreams with me. He’s a friend who has held me in his arms when I was in so much internal pain I thought I could not live. He is a friend who stood next to me at a cost when some were running like rats on the sinking ship that was my life at the time. He’s one of the most brilliant and gifted men I’ve ever known but that’s not what draws me to him. He’s also a friend who has experienced great loss in his life. Buried his first wife and triplets. Been diagnosed with cancer. Walked with his second wife through a grueling battle with breast cancer. Sat in courts fighting for a daughter. Helped build orphanages in developing countries. Been kicked in the gut by good men. Held babies with AIDS in his arms and dreamed of a better world.
We live thousands of miles from each other. Sometimes we don’t talk for long stretches of time (I feel shame about this). But when I am with him, a little boy smile shows up on my face from somewhere in the heart of an 11 year old boy . . . and the loneliness I feel when I look at my watch and realize I have a plane to catch reminds me where I am, reminds me who I am, and makes me wish I had a family member who worked in the airline industry so visits like this could happen more often.