No matter what you do,
some people just won’t go away.
I tried. Believe me, I tried.
A decade ago, I sat him down in a camp bunkhouse in Prescott, Arizona, and took the better part of the afternoon to tell him just how I felt.
I was different. Things had changed. I was going to pursue other interests.
Remarkably, he didn’t flinch.
I spent the better part of the next several years avoiding him. Though he was always less than a mile away, I usually only saw him from a distance on holidays, keeping myself unnoticed, hidden in the crowd. I know he saw me on occasion but to avoid discussion, I always left early.
Still, he was there.
What kind of person still hangs around and waits for you, hopes in you, believes in you and still wants to be your friend when you offer nothing in return?
Some people just won’t go away.
I thank God.
I went off and did my own thing for many years, lost everything and don’t have much to show for the adventure but the adventure itself and the life lessons I learned. But at my lowest point, I remembered my faithful friend.
I called him up. And as I had done many years prior in that camp bunkhouse, I told him my story.
And once again, he didn’t flinch.
Sensing the prodigal son story embedded in my tale, he promised to never go away.
Today I work for him.
He gave me a job when no one else would.
An incredibly busy man, hundreds clamoring for just a moment with him each day,
he finds a moment to say hi and check in with me.
I have learned many lessons in my life,
but none so poignant about perseverance in friendship
as he has taught.
Today is his birthday.
I would love to be able to give him something as memorable as he has given me to thank him for his profound influence on my life. He met the depth of my depravity with a breadth of love I have experienced with just one Other.
Happy Birthday my friend.
And thank you for giving me reason to celebrate life again.