“I believe that we don’t have to change friends
if we understand that friends change.”
Nearing midnight, sitting in a Jimmy Johns sandwich shop in downtown Milwaukee, I looked around at two of my best friends in the world. These were two of the guys I grew closest to in college. In fact, two of the guys that share this blogspace with me. There we were, 3/4ths of via chicago. 1 quarter of us missing because he was serving the medical needs of the people of Afghanistan. I’d driven 9 hours from the deep South and my only expectation for the trip was to have some good time with my boys. I chomped down on some enormous sub while reading posters all over the walls. Then I came across one with the quote at the top of the page. It’s the kind of thing somebody may have emailed you at one time or another. Like Footprints in the Sand or that darn “wear your sunscreen” song, it caught me off guard with its little truths…despite the inherent cheesiness factor. Interestingly enough, it was something I’d been thinking about a lot on this short trip.
My friends had changed. Nothing terribly drastic or life shattering. At their core, I knew these were the same guys I’ve always known. But there were little changes like expensive jeans and kicks and haircuts and hoodies. And bigger things like a different outlook on cultivating new relationships and keeping old ones intact. There were new church experiences and convictions. There were new long-term dreams and desires.
One of the sweetest girls I’ve ever met in my life went through a long stretch of thinking during our freshman year of college. For anonymity’s sake, lets call her Lily. Lily was a lover and a dreamer and was one of those people that was great to talk to for an hour or two in a dorm suite. During one of those conversations, she sprang upon me the following question: “Bobby, do you believe people change?” I had no answer. While walking to class for the next few weeks, she’d tell me how she visited home and caught up with her old high school friends. She couldn’t figure out if they were changing or if things were just different as time had passed. I’m not sure if Lily ever came up with an answer, but the idea always stuck with me.
Nearing midnight, sitting in a Jimmy Johns sandwich shop in downtown Milwaukee, I looked around at two of my best friends in the world. The general innocence of these guys appeared to have been broken-in like those old pants they wore every day in college. There seemed to be a newfound self-awareness that I never would’ve pinpointed before. I didn’t know how to take any of this in, so I decided to just let it soak.
After a week or so, I’ve come to this conclusion: “Lily, people do change.” And it’s really not a bad thing. That is if you understand that it’s just change. There’s certainly some adjusting and discovering to do, but isn’t that what growing up is all about? I am excited that these guys are starting to branch out and beginning to learn who they really are. And I do hope that they feel the same way about whatever change they saw in me. But my prayer and dream is that, no matter what we’re wearing, all of us will simply seek, as David did, to be “men after God’s own heart.”