The past couple of days I have been secluded away in two of my favorite places in the world—elevenmile canyon and the Agape Cabin. Preparing in prayer for several major decisions, I have buried myself in the Bible, my journal, meditation, quiet, wildlife, a river, a lake, and a mountain cabin that has always been filled with the presence of God. When I’m overwhelmed, this is where I retreat. When a pressing decision needed to be made, under persecution, maybe even feeling tired, Jesus often escaped to mountains, lakes, and deserted places. At times, I need to get away.
But something unexpected happened. I jumped in my truck to drive up a mountain for better reception on my phone—the cabin doesn’t have consistent wi-fi. As I crested the top of the mountain, I noticed a text from Liz and someone else. It was Victor and Eileen Marx! Through a problem with their RV, they ended up in Colorado Springs. I began to cry. I could barely text them through my tears.
You see, Victor, Eileen, Liz and I are old friends. We haven’t seen each other in a few months and I miss the fellowship. I miss the times of sitting around the kitchen sharing life through laughter, prayer, debate, and mutual respect and love for each other. Victor and Eileen are those rare couples that come along in one’s life that you know they love you…unconditionally. You know that they know that you love them. You don’t have to say it often, it’s just there. It’s just that knowledge as you sit in the living room together, watch a movie, do Disneyland and graduations (last December), shoot, walk, and pray.
Old friends are also about the wilderness, the winters of our lives. New friends become old friends when you do the hard stuff together. Friendships come and go through a lifetime. Often friends turn away during the hard times—you hurt them, they hurt you, and then there is a parting. Even Jesus’ closest friends did that to him. We shouldn’t be too surprised when the same thing happens to us.
But then there are old friends. Friends who will weather any storm with you. Like those old military veterans and their reunions, they are people who you have gone to battle with. They didn’t abandon you. They still have your back and they always will.
As I received the text from Victor I couldn’t help but remember the lyrics of that song of long ago from Paul Simon,
Old friends, old friends,
Sat on the park bench like bookends
…old friends, winter companions
We all need a few old friends. Winter companions. I hope you have some. If you do, tell them how much they mean to you today. They are rare and time is short.
On the Road with new and old friends,