My friend MR-B says, "It's all about relationship," and the more I explore life, the more I realize that he's completely right. It's ALL about relationships.
Last week or so, a friend of mine from many years ago found me on myspace. I hadn't thought about him in years. Occasionally he would cross my mind, but my biggest questions were unanswerable. Where is he? What's he doing with his life? Does he even remember the great conversations we used to have? And then he found me. It turns out he's "just down the road" from me. And he did remember those conversations.
And then just yesterday an almost-stranger asked me why I thought our lives had crossed paths. I told him, "I don't know that I've thought about it really. Sometimes I think the relationships we form are part of a larger plan -- one we may not understand for years." And then it dawned on me.
What if all of that time at Greenville was for a time like now? Perhaps the reason Mark and I had those nights that lasted until near dawn with nothing but conversation were because I would need someone like him in my life now.
Generally, I'm not one to say that God knew then what I'd need now, but I do think that God recognizes relationships that are significant to us. So I don't know if God nudged me back then to become friends with him because he knew what I'd need today. Or maybe God nudged him last week because God knew what I needed now and Mark was just the friend to do it. Either way, one conversation this week with Mark has taught me to think seriously about some pretty tough issues. The relationships we create today may have the power to shape our lives in years to come.
Thanks, MR-B. It's the most powerful lesson I learned in seminary: it really is all about relationship.
And that's a cause I can certainly be down with!