“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born…” – Anais Nin
Last Friday, after what felt like a million meetings, I ended the day by making music and a new friend. My comrade and co author, Andrew Greer, invited Lindsay McCaul and me to sing on a hymns project he’s making to benefit Food for the Hungry. I had only met Lindsay once–backstage at a concert, so I was excited to get to know her better. She is a delightful soul and a kindred spirit. I’m pretty sure we were reading each other’s minds, especially while creating harmonies around Andrew. Singing felt particularly special this day, partly because the timeless melodies of the hymns insist on drawing me in, but mostly because it was an experience shared with friends.
Hymn-singing continued the next evening, when my good friends Cindy Morgan, the aforementioned Andrew, and musicians Kyle and John performed their modern renditions of classic, Gospel treasures for an audience of enthusiastic ladies. (I contributed a non-hymn to the evening.) The event was hosted by Patsy Clairmont, a wonderful lady I’ve just recently gotten to know, while participating in a Monday evening writing group that met in her living room. Patsy is one of those folks I aspire to be like when I grow up. She uses her words to affirm, inspire, and challenge hearts – all qualities of a great friend.
The evening ended in a most perfect way – a car ride home with Cindy, singer/songwriter extraordinaire. Ever since being roomies on the Night in Rocketown tour several centuries ago, Cindy and I have been great friends. She’s the sort of friend you pick up with right where you left off, no matter how long it’s been. Everything about our friendship is nourishing and refreshing. I aspire to be that kind of friend.
Bright and early the next morning, I traveled to Hookset, New Hampshire, where I played a concert with Michael Card. Michael has lots of long-time friends that I’ve enjoyed getting to meet at our recent shows together. Erik and Nicole, our hosts for the evening, became buds instantaneously. You should hear them sing!
Michael has become a good friend over the past few years. He’s a brilliant thinker and scholar, evidenced by the thickness of each book he’s written. (My book feels wimpy in comparison.) Any time we do a show together, I come home with a new reading list and new factoids I’m ecstatic to know. For instance, did you know C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the rest of the Inklings used to play monopoly in all known languages, including Broadly Speaking Elvish, Tolkien’s made up language in The Lord of the Rings?
On Sunday, Mike shared another fact I didn’t know. He told me how Ignatius of Antioch and the members of his church would go into the slave market, sell themselves as slaves, and used the money they made to free others from slavery. “It is a better freedom to be a slave to Christ,” they said. I hope to be as good a friend to Christ as they were.
The stuff of this week has invited me to stop and consider the significance of friendship. I think God gives us friendships to teach us to love and serve, to help us make sense of the world, and to better understand ourselves and each other. God often challenges, restores, and speaks truth to me through my friends. Can’t you tell?