Wednesday, February 06, 2008

friends who know your history

This evening we held our first overtly Christian youth meeting. It was actually a combination dinner/small group time where I presented a video clip, shared a 2 minute thought on the Christian tradition of the Good Samaritan, and then gave them some questions to discuss at their table. It went surprisingly well and all of our young people, including those of other faiths, got very involved in the discussions and it all seemed to go very positively.

One story I’ll pause to tell is that, after the evening was over and we were shuffling kids out the door, one of our girls stopped to look at one of our human trafficking posters. She stopped and stared at it for what seemed like an eternity. I was both touched and excited at the same time. My first thought was, “Wow! I didn’t think anybody even paid attention to those posters!” My second thought was that of sheer joy at the thought that one of our young people might be concerned and interested in the subject. Then suddenly she pointed at one of the young girls in the picture and said, “that’s how I wanted my hair to be done.” Sigh. Guess we can’t win every battle in one night.

Though the evening exceeded our expectations, I have to admit that it was slightly anti-climactic for Jamie and I. After four long years of building bridges of trust throughout our community, those who had battled alongside us for all those years weren’t around to see the culmination of all that work (Mel). Most of our volunteers over the past few years have been youth ministry students and, as we’re working with no money, none of them have ever been able to stay on once their studies were over. All of our current volunteers except one have been with us for one year or less. For them tonight was great, but they know too little of our history to understand the true significance of tonight’s success.

Which brings me to the topic of this post.

My wife has a saying that she often turns to when down or homesick; sometimes it’s nice to be around friends who know your history.

Moving around as much as we have, we’ve experienced this desire on lots of occasions. A couple of our friends are experiencing that now as they go through a tough time with their church.

I’ve known Brad since I was a senior in high school. I girl I was dating at the time introduced us. Actually, she spent several months talking about this “great guy” she went to school with. In fact, by the time I actually met Brad, I just wanted to punch him in the neck. But I eventually broke up with the girl and Brad and I remained friends. Eventually we became very close friends and spent a couple of years travelling and leading retreats and workshops for young people around Oklahoma and Texas.

One retreat in particular comes to mind. We’d had a long day of teaching and leading worship and found ourselves in the room we were sharing for the night. I contest that, because I was the first to actually get into my bed, Brad was responsible for turning the light out. Brad contests that, because my bed was actually closest to the switch, I was responsible for turning the light out. We discussed it for a few minutes, then debated it. After about five minutes we decided that this was definitely one of those battles worth fighting and, determined to stand our ground, both rolled over and attempted to sleep…with the light on.

I don’t know what time it was, but at some point in the wee hours of the morning, I grabbed a shoe that was next to my bed, and threw it at the light switch in an attempt to turn it off…WITHOUT leaving my bed! This, in turn, woke Brad up who, without saying a word or looking in my direction, got out of bed and turned out the light. Lesson learned Brad; Tim is more stubborn than you are. I can play this freaking game all night!

That’s a dumb story and we were both pathetic for even going through it. But, by next morning, we were back to our old selves, brothers in arms, and never again spoke a word about it. It’s good to have friends who not only know your history, but whom you can fight with and still remain brothers. I miss he and his wife dearly.

When we got to Uni, Brad actually went off and spent a year with the military to earn money towards college. When he got back he married his high school sweetheart and they spent a year having me over for Ramen Noodles. I don’t miss the classes I was taking that year, but I definitely miss those very dear times in Brad and Jenn’s apartment, with their charity shop pictures on the wall.

I’m thinking of several of you tonight. Those who know our history. I think you would have really rejoiced with us tonight. I know that cell groups happen every week in churches across the world, but this first one took us four years of blood, sweat, and tears to get started within the most culturally diverse community I’ve ever experienced in my life. I wish you could have been here to see it. You were dearly missed.

Comments on "friends who know your history"

 

Blogger jsi said ... (10:50 AM) : 

Good news about your group.
Good sharing about your friends.
It sounds like you had a very good day.
It is very helpful to be with friends who know your history and share with them.
Sorry that you feel alone without people who know you through thick and thin.

 

Blogger Mel Wiggins said ... (10:51 AM) : 

Your post made me cry (moving tears), does that count as rejoicing with you?

I completely understand how big a deal it was, and I can imagine if I had have been there I would have cried in person when the kids had all left.

From "how do we adapt 'big booty' for this group (big betty) and lead the game effectively" to this. God is for you guys.

 

Blogger Tim said ... (11:34 AM) : 

Hahahaha! Now THAT'S the kind of stuff I'm talking about!!!

Incidentally, I can no longer say the word "betty" without saying it in a Northern Irish accent. "Buette". : )

 

Blogger dave wiggins said ... (2:54 PM) : 

also, whats the deal with baseball ... could they not have left cricket as it was?

 

Blogger Tim said ... (2:58 PM) : 

I'm going to give you baseball except to say that cricket is the only sport in the world that actually makes baseball look interesting!

Incidentally, was there a contest to see who could make cricket even more excrutiating and the winner came up with: what if we made one game last several days!???

 

Blogger Trent said ... (3:19 AM) : 

Persistence like that is hard for those of us who suffer with AADD.

I think that is great.

 

Blogger Larry said ... (11:48 PM) : 

tim,

i only know the last 10 years of your story...i rejoice with you tonight. it is good to hear your joy.

praying for you two....

 

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