One friendship in my life follows a different pattern, at least when it is contrasted with others. The thing we do is dialogue. Occasionally we share a meal. On rare occasions, we do something. However, for many reasons all driven by convenience, we rarely “do” the things that guys normally do with each other.
This week was a good example. We talked a lot at a reunion event. Then quietly and without any fuss, we traveled back into our different worlds. Last night we exchanged a short series of text messages as he was in the middle of a buying experience with his wife. He wanted to know what I had bought earlier. With a short burst of text messages, we silently moved back into our different worlds. I know we will talk briefly later today. We may even meet up tomorrow, to share a meal and catch-up on recent events.
Our community could be viewed as a strange one. I used to see it that way but I am beginning to wonder. Perhaps I am moving into a type of community that has existed across time and culture. A long time ago, a wisdom father was visiting a community. After sharing a conversation, “they wanted him to stay longer, but he said he couldn’t. But after saying good-bye, he promised, ‘I’ll be back, God willing.’” (Acts 18.21) Their conversation would continue.
I know that most of my communities are defined by what we do. From working to breaking bread and at times even to worship, the activities we share define our relationship. There is little doubt that these are communities. However there are others in my life that reach deeper into my heart. As I think of these relationships, they are shaped by the words and thoughts we share in conversation.
As today dawns, I find myself in conversation with a friend that I do not see very much. The conversation we share will shape what follows today. What happens in the present and future will come from how much we put into our words.