what a great night i had last night.
i have been a bit of a transient most of my adult life. a handful of years in suburban chicago, three in omaha, 18 months in the OC, 5 years in pasadena, and now 7 in san diego. each of these places i’ve developed great friends. but, to be honest, there are only so many close friendships i’m able to really maintain over the years, especially when we don’t live in the same city. from each of these places, i have people i still consider good friends; but only a few that i really keep in contact with.
and from my childhood and teenage years in detroit? well, i really only have one friend. his name is john mathers, and he became my best friend in 3rd grade when my family changed churches and started attending the church john’s family attended. we were inseperable in grade school, even though i still lived in detroit, and he was out in the suburbs. in 7th grade, my family moved to the same suburb john lived in, and we spent even more time together. in about 9th grade, our friendship took a couple year hiatus, while we were working through all that teen differentiation stuff. but about our junior year of high school we reconnected, and starting cleaning an office together on weekends (which became the setting for a hundred-and-one crazy memories). john transferred in to wheaton, and my junior year of college, we lived together in an off-campus apartment. we both became youth pastors, and while i was in omaha and he in chicago, we did a missions trip together to mexico with our groups.
he’s been in the northern suburbs of detroit now for years, gone through some really rough times (not of his own doing or choosing), but is just a rock — one of the most integrous and faithful people i know. every year, for years now, my one excursion during our family christmas trip to detroit is spending a night with john, getting caught up on life, laughing and crying. most years, we only talk every few months (during his tough times with a tough marriage we talked daily). but our friendship always feels like we were together last week and the week before.
last night, we went to a red wings game (hockey, for those who don’t know). had great seats at center ice, and watched the red wings defeat the columbus blue jackets in a way-exciting shoot-out overtime (admission: i’d never heard of the ‘blue jackets’ before last night! can anyone tell me what a ‘blue jacket’ is, btw?). then we went back and sat in his hot tub (mine is in the warmth of san diego; his is in his garage in the freezing detroit winter!) and talked until the wee-hours of the morning.
i now have a great red wings cap to remember our night, and our friendship. what an honor and priviledge to have a friendship that has been so strong for 35 years.