Who Are Those People in Your Life?

As for the saints who are in the earth, They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight. Psalms 16:3

What would it take to really see the mysterious bundles of flesh and spirit in your spouse? Your kids? Or your parents, siblings, friends, or neighbors?

God chose to bring magnificent people into your life, just as He did into mine. I would like to know yours, but I’ll go first; let me tell you about mine. Because I did nothing to earn these friendships and do not deserve them, I can only stand in silent awe.

The Majestic Ones

Let me introduce you to some human treasures among my friends.

  • First, we stop at my lovely Joanne. Although she buried her parents, her son, and two sisters, and has endured serious illness and pain, her laughter thaws frozen rivers. She passionately loves her kids, grandkids, friends, and flowers. Her husband knows he only lives because God likes Joanne.

  • When diabetes took his leg, Dan settled into a wheelchair as regally as a naval captain commands his ship. His gentle Oklahoma drawl and easy humor convince listeners it’s all going to turn out fine. And, to see him at a formal event is to understand why civilization devised tuxedos.

  • Glen, a true force of nature, listens carefully, weighs the words and the spirit behind them, and then drops a plumb line down through the room. His view leaves nothing else to say. It’s time to repent or lawyer up. And, his Roberta loves every person, plant, and animal she ever touched… with her hand, eyes, or shadow.

  • Gerrit and Himmie speak and move in musical cadence, exuding southern charm. When our son died, they drove to our house. They brought no sermons or songs but stepped into the abyss with us.

  • Daoud and Robin walk through their very wide world like royalty. Yet, they taught us a timeless and life-altering lesson in vulnerability, humility, and kindness.

  • Doug, a prophet, spreads the love of God over the world, enjoys fine steaks and wines, fires a cannon on his ranch, and scares the hell out of religious people.

  • Steve and Beth welcome stray cats and people to their home. Like the Good Samaritan, they pull them to health and pay the bills to do it.

  • When Morris touches a keyboard, he rips a hole between Heaven and earth and ushers the outcasts into God’s living room.

  • Many years ago, Chris and Linda walked out of the church house and into the high call of serving their neighborhood and city. In that call, they flow with Muslims and Mormons as easily as they do with Methodists.

  • Beverly, a child psychologist, continues to work past retirement age because the children in her remote Georgia county would have no other advocate or helper if she quit.

The Truth About Friends

If I knew just one of those people, I’d be rich. But, I know many. I hope to introduce you to others—our kids and grandkids, my parents and brothers, and the vast sweep of artists, teachers, preachers, cops, outlaws, orphans, and outsiders who enrich my life.

            Through these and other majestic ones, I’ve learned some things about friendship:

  1. To cherish other humans means I must first recognize their Creator.

  2. Love and respect should be spoken. Plainly. Face-to-face. Heart-to-heart. Don’t let those you love wonder where they stand with you.

  3. I cannot change the terms, the temperature, or the territory of friendship. I can only accept (or reject) what was offered.

  4. Friendship builds a sanctuary, a sacred and safe place for heartsounds.  

  5. Real friends offer a wondrous mix of total acceptance for who you are and encouragement to be more than you are.

  6. People will disappoint you. Forgive them.

  7. When the time comes, release them to go on into their destiny, even if that release involves a funeral.

Finally, what is the proper response for such majestic ones? After all, we didn’t create them or invite them. God fashioned the moment, the intersection, and the eternal resonance between two hearts. Gratitude is the only proper deportment.

            But, according to the professor and author Richard Beck, “Gratitude implies a gift, which in turn implies a giver.” In other words, gifts do not tumble down from outer space.  Gratitude cannot exist by itself. It unavoidably assumes a Creator, the one who gives.  

            We are grateful for and we are grateful to.

16 thoughts on “Who Are Those People in Your Life?”

  1. Ed, well said. But more importantly, well thought. I’ve found that the key to truly loving people is to VALUE them. Love can be an emotion or even a decision. But VALUE—that recognizes intrinsic worth. Ed, I value you, brother!

  2. As always, my friend, you enriched the best canvas with brilliant colors and the touches brought new light and radiance to your friendships and how you love each one.

    And like every other thing our God does, he drew your musings and memory our, helping you to manifest the esteem in your heart for friends. And now He says, “It is good.”

    Thank you for showing how to love others.

  3. I so like your words as follows:

    “Finally, what is the proper response for such majestic ones? After all, we didn’t create them or invite them. God fashioned the moment, the intersection, and the eternal resonance between two hearts. Gratitude is the only proper deportment.”

    Gratitude is a tremendous key to life. A mystery to behold as it grips our life.

    You asked for examples of “majestic ones” who have graced us with their friendship. Here is my incomplete list just for starters:

    Linda , my wife. In 1974 at the age of 22 I figured I would be single for the rest of my life until I met Linda and knew from our first meeting that my destiny was to be married to her. Now after 43 years of marriage I am so grateful for the grace of God for allowing us to be united.

    Michael, our son. A miraculous gift from God. Our only child we were told we would not have. To top off the miracle God blessed us with he was born early on Thanksgiving Day. His life and how it has unfolded is a constant reminder to us of God’s favor and love he has blessed us with.

    Jennifer Hoffman, our daughter-in-law, for her devotion and love for our son and grandchildren and the joy she brings to them and Linda and I.

    Rick and Anne Juergens, the parents of our daughter-in-law who nourished Jenny to become the woman who cherishes our son who we cherish.

    “Dutch” Henderson, who prayed for a lost soul when I was 19 years old in 1971 when we both worked together on a manufacturing line building travel trailers. The more she prayed the more my descent into darkness occurred. She did not lose hope and in her continued prayer my heart tuned to see the love of God. And as this transformation occurred her direction in time led me to lifelong friendships I so dearly cherish to this day.

    Roland Lewis, a friend of Glen Roachelle who sent him to a house church that I attended which changed the trajectory of my life which yielded so many gracious gifts that are too numerous to count.

    Charles Simpson, whose love for God and obedience to God’s call in his life infused in me a life mission to be able to thrive in whatever environment I found myself in without being offended. And it is important to say that without Charles’ obedience to God I would not have met my wife Linda nor have a wonderful son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

    Glen Roachelle, who has been like a father for me. A mentor, a friend, a guide into the very mysteries of life at the throne of God. Constantly by the example of his life and words have created in me a desire to long for more than what I currently understand and experience.

    Bob and Sue Swindle, who lovingly took care of my wife-to-be Linda shared with her from their life long experience which prepared her for our life long experience together.

    Bill and Kim Collins, dear friends who we entrusted our son to if something happened to us if we were no longer around to nurture him towards maturity.

    Daoud and Robin Abudiab. If anyone thinks that Facebook friendships are shallow they have not been blessed like Linda and I have been with such a social media friendship turning into a valuable real life friendship. Our lives have been enriched with their friendship beyond imagination. Their hospitality inspires such sweet kindredness.

    Kirk and Christine Petersen. I have known them both working together with them in the largest service organization in the world – Lions Club. I have worked with Chris for most of the last 30 years of my career prior to retiring. I have been blessed by Kirk in sharing his pulpit ministry with me in allowing me to share with his congregation. Linda and I have been blessed with experiencing the joys of maturity in their children.

    Ed and Joanne Chinn. Ed’s and my close relationship started with a mutual drunkenness. We were painting with a oil paint in a closed environment without ventilation on a restoration project for a schooner on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi which altered our minds and set them free to explore the mysteries of life. To this day 45 years later we live five miles apart still entertaining the mysteries of life.

    To the above list I can add so many other “majestic ones”. Some that come to my cherished memory are
    Randy Graham, David Nelson, Nick Marodis, David Edgerton, Mahlon Gerlach, Luke Lewis, Gary Tompkins, Ted J. Hanson (my best man at my wedding), Verne Nelson, Ron Ronfeldt, Judy Brace Summers. I must apologize for dear friends that my feeble and aged memory have not allowed me to list.

    Thank you Ed for your comments allowing us to be reminded of of the gift of friendship we have been blessed with.

  4. We are all blessed by those precious friends and acquaintances with whom we exchange thoughts, experiences, and dreams. Where would we be without them?

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