Cyndi and I often kid around that it’s only the two of us, no one else, whether we’re in Pennsylvania where we live, or Arizona and Nevada, places we like to travel. Like her parents and mine, we do everything together, having very few close friends otherwise. I’m blessed and gratified that my wife is truly my best friend.
Cyndi often says that I know the world. It’s interesting…many, many places we go, I end up knowing someone or knowing someone who knows someone. I learned a long time ago though, that acquaintances aren’t the same as friendships. I have a ton of acquaintances, but very few close friends. Very few.
For me, there’s a high bar to the word “friend”. I think of those who meet that criteria as being in my inner circle…those people who invest in me and me in them. It includes those who are heading in the same direction as me, who teach and pray with me, laugh and cry with me, and hold me accountable. They’re there when things are great, as well as when big challenges surface.
Maybe it’s that high bar that results in me having so few friends. Or maybe I’m just wrong (feel free to respond to this and comment). Maybe the definition should be much broader. One of the problems here is mine. I’m not very good at small talk. If a conversation isn’t substantive, I check out quickly. And for whatever reason (maybe I’m doing it wrong), most conversations don’t get to a place of substance.
I’m part of a Discipleship Quad, a faith-based peer group, where 4 brothers in Christ are sharing life. Having been in men’s groups for years, this is my 3rd Quad. I joke around that during my last Quad, those were my 3 best friends and during this Quad, I have a new set of best friends. They’re investing in me and me in them, all of us heading in the same direction (striving to be Disciples of Christ). We laugh and cry, teach and listen, invest, are accountable, and love one another.
I went to a funeral this past week…the Mother of a high school friend passed away. Playing football together and graduating in 1981, with the exception of maybe 1-2 times, I haven’t seen Nick in 42 years. Yet it was like we didn’t miss a beat…we just picked up where we left off. There are some others who fall into that category for me, including my 3 brothers.
Life’s crazy busy…and I think getting busier. And as I get older, I’m way more interested in the peace than the pace. I truly don’t have this all figured out. What I have is this yearning, probably not unlike you, for authentic friendship, relationship, and community. I think we’re made for these things.
I know my most important relationship is with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. And my close 2nd is Cyndi, who I thank God for. As I close here, I’m reminded of the Great Commandments and Great Commission, where in short Jesus told us to “love God, love our neighbors, and share the Gospel message”. Maybe if I just do more of that, I’ll have more friends, good friends, real friends. How about you?
As always, please email me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with questions, concerns, comments, or prayer requests.
God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!
Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!