Don't forget your long-term friends

In the last week, I've had opportunities to catch up with several of the people I've served through InterVarsity over the years. In the process, they became friends. Good friends. But somewhere along the way, we lost touch.

I've been realizing lately how devastating the process of having children, moving to a new city and starting a new job has been to my long-term friendships. I've made friends here. Good friends. But something special happens when you talk to someone who's known you for a long time.

It's awkward at first. "We haven't talked in forever." I feel a wave of guilt and shame. I want to blurt out: "You're important to me. I don't know why I haven't picked up the phone. I have a dozen excuses but none of them are sufficient. Please forgive me." But I don't say it. The phone works both ways. And if love does anything, love picks back up without guilting or shaming.

I think the fear of being guilted or shamed for not having been in better contact keeps me from reaching out to people. In the short-term, I protect myself. But the cost is the loss of people who know my story, who share my history, who know a part of me that's been buried by the landslide of history but is alive under the rubble. I need those people in my life.

Calling someone you haven't talked to in a long time takes courage, courage that I often lack. But recently, a friend called me. He called me out of the blue. He wanted to catch up. He wanted to tell me about what God had done in his life. It never occurred to me to guilt him or shame him for not calling sooner. I was too busy being thrilled to hear his voice. Why do I assume that the people I love will be less loving than me?

Would you be willing to take a moment and ask God if there's someone in your life you should call? Calling will feel like a risk. But some risks are worth taking.

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