Special Friends

A couple of years ago, through a series of events I could never have orchestrated, I became friends with a couple in California. From our first conversations, there was a bond. They lived in Tennessee for a short period of time and knew some of the same people I knew, but our paths never crossed while they were here.

This year, our friendship has deepened. I told them about the book I was writing and asked if they would like to read each chapter as I wrote and offer feedback. They enthusiastically agreed and from January until now, we have been in constant contact by email and phone. I consider them very special friends and, believe me, sharing such a personal story AS YOU WRITE and REWRITE it, creates a special closeness. Eric and Ann have become true friends of my heart; especially this year.

For quite a while now, I have been telling them they should return to TN for a vacation and stay with me. And they are finally taking me up on the invitation. They arrived yesterday. I knew the minute I opened the door and saw them in person, it would seem as though we'd been friends forever. And that was exactly how it felt. It was so good to see their faces and hug their necks. These are friends that God placed in my life. They have been a special gift and blessing to me in a way that you will understand only by reading my book. I have been looking forward to this week with them for months.

So, last night, we had lasagna, salad, garlic cheese bread. We talked and laughed. John took Eric up to the bonus room for guitar appreciation. (We never saw them again until it was time for bed.) And I told them to sleep as late as they could. There are no big plans today. We have waited a long time to sit in the same room, drink coffee and just visit. I look forward to them going to church with us tonight and dinner afterwards. Tomorrow is their anniversary and I'm going to make them a special dinner (beef tenderloin roasted in the oven).

John and Eric have talked on the phone a couple of times because they share a love of guitars. But I was the one who had established an actual relationship. So when I told John a few months ago that they were going to come spend a week with us this summer, John looked at me kind of perplexed and said, "People you have never met in person are coming to spend a week with us?" In hindsight, I should have reminded him that WE met through the Internet and look at us! But I just said, "You don't understand. I know them really well. They're my friends. It's totally irrelevant that our friendship has been long distance." I also knew that there would be an instant connection for Eric and John because of music. (I've seen John with other guitar enthusiasts he'd never met before. There are no strangers in guitar world!)

John loves to share his guitars with other musicians who know and appreciate the instruments themselves. A famous signature does not make a guitar special to John. It's all about the instrument. I have never met anyone who knew more about guitars than my John. And Eric shares John's appreciation. So it came as no surprise to me when the two of them disappeared after dinner. It was obvious they were having a great time.

Actually, I have formed a number of close friendships over the Internet. Even more of them since John's CLL diagnosis. Let me tell you something; you can grow to feel VERY close to someone you communicate with online. Meeting face to face is a treat, but not an essential element of a heart-connection.

Getting to meet Eric and Ann face to face is indeed "icing on the cake." Although I could not have felt any closer to them than I already did, it is more special than I can possibly express to have them here in my home this week!


Celeste Maia said…
Such a nice thought, Shari, of what friendship is about. I agree entirely, one does not have to be face to face with the person to feel connected. In fact I feel I go much deeper in writing that in talking. Somehow the sound of talking dissolves the meaning away. Writing is intense and there are no distractions. I wish you and your John continue to have a wonderful time with your friends!
Danny Bryant said…
i hope i get to meet them next week.
Eric Brenton said…
Shari and John,

We are very honored to be your guests. You have made us feel so welcome. We thoroughly enjoyed attending your church this evening. A poignant, insightful, and well- prepared sermon and spirit filled worship! (Followed by a delightful meal.) The time we are sharing together is a remarkable blessing from our Lord.

Love, Eric and Ann
Danny Bryant said…
wednesday is great. rebecca and the boys come everyday for lunch. i can order an extra pizza if you guys want to eat.
Shari said…
I was going to suggest that! Thanks! We're looking forward to it.

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