Dr. Michael Thomas
I recently returned from a visit with a friend. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years and I was very happy to finally be able to talk with him again, face to face. I had to drive almost six hours to get to his house and that is probably why I haven’t seen him in a while. Our phone conversations had begun to seem a bit more distant and I was a little afraid we were starting to lose our connection. That’s the funny thing about friendships though. As soon as I saw him, we picked up right where we had left off. Its almost as if we don’t even need to talk. He understands me and I understand him. I never have to question his regard for me. We immediately re-entered a dialogue that has been going on for many years.
My family and I had gone up to Atlanta for a conference and it was the perfect opportunity to catch up with my friend. Because however, both of our lives are jam-packed busy, we only had three hours to spend together. In that time we were each able to talk about the things in our lives that were most important, troubling issues, successes, lingering questions and more, all of it nestled in the careful construct of our friendship.
The funny thing about my friend is that we have never really had much time to spend together. We have known each other for several years but we have never lived in the same town and have never had more that a scant few days together in all the years we have known each other. In the time since I met him I have met thousands of people. Many of those I have had much more contact with, but somehow this man means something different to me.
I have many, many acquaintances, people who I know and have dealings with, but in my whole life, I have only had a few relationships with others that I would really call ‘friend’. We don’t spend a lot of time in surface chitchat. Within minutes of reconnecting with my friend we took a walk and each of us bared our souls to each other. I hadn’t really planned to and he remarked that he hadn’t planned to tell me the things he said. But the words came out without effort. The ease of friendship seemed to make it immediately okay to expose the most hidden of feelings. There is no obvious judgment in our conversations. We accept each other for who we are.
What is it that reveals one man to be a friend and so many others only acquaintances? It isn’t anything that is visible on the outside. There really isn’t any obvious sign that I am aware of. There is however, another way of knowing. It may be a feeling in my chest, in my heart that whispers to me that this one is different. I know without doubt that here is something more profound, deeper and wider than the way I interact with most other people. It isn’t even ease of social interaction. Because I haven’t been around my friend much, I find a certain hesitation in my interaction with he and his family. The hesitation comes because of my relative unfamiliarity with his habits and the construct of his family but also because of respect. I hesitate to make as sure as I can that I do or say nothing to disrespect him or his family. I also know though, that if I mess up, that I will still be received with that same loving regard because he too, trusts my intention.
The platform of our relationship is founded in loving regard. We are both spiritual seekers, yearning to be spiritual finders. We both want to know God. We both strive to live our lives in service to others, working to relieve suffering and provide encouragement to those in need of it. When we talk with each other, I find myself cutting to the chase, so to speak. Its almost a kind of shorthand. We are both on a journey that leads to the same place, and somehow we both know it. Each of us is walking his own path and we find ourselves to be kindred souls, converging on the same destination.
As I drove away from his house after such a short visit, I considered all the things we hadn’t discussed. We didn’t talk about our business or our gross revenues. We didn’t talk about sports or the weather. There is, as he said, a sort of timelessness to our interactions. So many of the surface considerations that I often spend much of my day dealing with fade away as soon as we sit with each other for a moment.
I think our meeting held some sort of higher purpose. I found myself in Atlanta in close proximity to three of my best friends in this life -at a pivotal moment in my own life. I have been working as editor on a textbook for the past three years. It finally came back from the printing press a week before the spring seminar in Atlanta. It was excellent timing and I was feeling so happy to have been able to keep my promise to produce a textbook for the group that teaches the chiropractic technique that I practice. Seventeen doctors had each taken the time and effort to produce a chapter or two or even three, in the midst of their busy and complicated lives.
I had another friend who had come to Atlanta. He has been a mentor of mine for many years. Over these same years, we have forged a deep friendship. We are both committed to bringing the results of upper cervical chiropractic care to as many people as we can.
The third friend is easily the best friend of my life, my wife. She and I have shared twenty years of life together and she has always been at my side. We have forged something that is somehow strong and deep and immense and yet also light and easy. Bonnie, and my son John both came up to Atlanta to share this happy time with me. I feel immense gratitude at this happy confluence of events. For once, I am simply thankful.
We yearn to become the eyes and words and hands of God here in this world, to serve humanity and the world in the light of the Love of Christ. We often feel inadequate to the task and yet we continue to strive each day to reach this goal.
A friend always moves you toward the higher path. When two or more come together in the love of God, this is church. Our lives contain sacred moments and our friends are often involved, lending their eyes and words and hands in concert with the love that sings its song in their hearts. I pray that I am a good friend. I pray that I can be worthy of such friends. I pray that we can all learn how to be such friends with each other. As I sit here writing these words, I pray that I can bring encouragement to those who read my words. I pray that all of us can find the courage to let Love rule our lives and not just gradually close it down in fear.
Please, wake up to the love that is in your own heart. Be the love that we need so desperately in this world. Finding the courage to be loving, changes the world. Love is after all, the most powerful force in entire the universe and beyond. God is Love. God is the friend behind the friend.
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit.”