Our move to North Little Rock has been such a rich time for me and my family. We absolutely love our church and community. I am really enjoying my ministry and staff team. And God is clearly working in and through us to have Kingdom impact.
But I’d by lying if I said the move had been easy for my son. We tend to think of kids as really resilient people — but the fact is that my son is, for better or worse, more like a little adult. He thinks and experiences life at a different level than most of the kids his age. I guess he’s a lot like his dad was as a child.
And that maturity, while often beneficial, also can complicate things. Take friendship, for example. I met my very best friend in Kindergarten. And while our relationship has changed through the years — through marriage, kids, and all the stuff of life — it has endured. I’m one of those people with lots of acquaintances and very few friends. But the friends I have are rock-solid — people I can count on to be trustworthy, dependable, and present in a moment’s notice if the situation called for it.
Well, tonight as my son and I were doing sunshine and clouds, I asked him about the phone call from his friend today. He choked up and started to cry and said in a muffled voice, “I just miss him so much.”
I cried too — not because I also miss friends, although I do. . .not because I typically cry with those who cry, although I do. . .and not because I wish I could somehow better guard my son’s young heart, although I do.
I cried because I love my son, and I hate to see him hurting.
You know, God is like that with His children too. He loves us with a love that is unrelenting. . .a love that won’t let go. And although He understands all our struggles, He also hates to see us hurting.
I know that my son misses his friend. He wants to share with him about the Air Force planes we see around here all the time. He wants to play Legos with him and use that amazing imagination that God has given him. But more than anything, he wants to just be there physically with his friend.
Phone calls and emails — while helpful — are not sufficient to bridge the gap between two hearts. They are no substitute for the companionship that comes from being able to converse and share life together.
And while I’m saddened that this new situation is such a challenge for my son, I am heartened to know that he has learned early in life the value of a friend.
Because everyone needs a friend. And I believe he’s going to make a really good one for someone else very soon.