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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Morris touches a keyboard, he rips a hole between Heaven and earth and ushers the
outcasts into God’s living room.
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:
- To cherish other humans means I must first recognize their Creator.
- 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.
- I cannot change the terms, the temperature, or the territory of friendship. I can only accept (or reject) what was offered.
- Friendship builds a sanctuary, a sacred and safe place for heartsounds.
- Real friends offer a wondrous mix of total acceptance for who you are and encouragement to be more than you are.
- People will disappoint you. Forgive them.
- 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.