Have you ever bumped into an old friend you haven’t seen for many years… not just a casual acquaintance, but a good friend. The other day I reconnected with a very good friend from the old days. Mike and I were good friends….. we played sports together in high school, were members of the same fraternity in college, went into the service together…. so many memories. We stayed in touch for a few years after college until we both moved away from St. Louis and eventually lost touch.
Even though we haven’t made any new memories in the past 50+ years, we picked up quickly on the old ones. Things that were funny 50 years ago, were still funny…. we laughed a lot on our one hour phone conversation. Mike’s had a lot of success in business which was no surprise to me. He’s also had his share of trials in life …. from health, family issues ….. his eldest son Brian died of cancer a few years ago at the age of 40… Judy was his godmother. I knew Mike’s dad and mom and his brother… all have passed. He knew my mother…. I can still hear her saying ” Mike called, he wanted you to call him when you got home.”
During our conversation, you could tell we’ve lost a step…. we both now use the banister going up and down stairs, have hearing aids, and can’t remember “who’s on first”….. but we still can make each other laugh.
He was pretty savvy even in high school. I remember my first basketball practice after transferring to Chaminade in my sophomore year; Mike came over, shook my hand and introduced himself. He was a good athlete, lettering in football, basketball, and baseball…he was a leader, had a job and a car. I felt he always “had my back”. We got married on the same day as we had just gotten our orders and were leaving for Ft. Bliss,Texas in a few days. I could tell you hundreds of stories…. “Mike wearing sunglasses as we lined up for our second jump at Ft. Benning and the reaction of the jump master…it wasn’t pretty…. eating White Castles at 2:00am after our fraternity’s soda fundraiser…. his Jewish father Sam who was a real character….. for these stories and more, you just had to be there.
Mike lives in Texas and the chances of us actually seeing each other again are pretty slim. As we were ending our conversation I thought of a couple of things I wanted to say. First, I thanked him for being my friend all those many years ago. He was a true friend. Secondly, I told him I wanted to pray for him, and asked him what I could pray for…he said his health.
We ended with some final bantering and then promised to stay in touch. So Lord, thanks for my friend Mike and I do pray for his health, certainly for his many physical ailments, but mostly for his spiritual health… that he will know the love and redemption of our dear savior Jesus Christ. May we meet again one day in heaven where the joy and laughter will never end. Mike was my good friend.