For believers, both old and new relationships carry an eternal weight and value.
This piece was adapted from Russell Moore’s newsletter. Subscribe here.
As I headed off to California for the installation of my old friend Matthew J. Hall as provost of Biola University, I commented to my wife, Maria, “I wonder what the most-repeated sentence I’ve ever said to or heard from Matt Hall would be.” And what we landed on was “Well, that was crazy.”
Matt and I have had many opportunities to say that to each other since we first met—back when he was a call screener for a talk-radio show I sometimes guest hosted. His job was to filter out the people who wanted to make a relevant comment from those outraged after I said something positive about, say, Willie Nelson or Harry Potter. (Those were simpler times, reader.) And in the years since, we have often looked at each other whenever some explosive debate on the floor of our denomination was gaveled out of order and said, “Well, that was crazy.”
For 20 years, I’ve been able to laugh with Matt about some display of craziness or another—and I can always count on him to know what qualifies as “crazy.” In the two days I visited with him recently, I found myself laughing at stories we would tell and retell, with lots of sentences starting with “Remember when … ?”
In the past, I might have considered memories of such moments as “nostalgia,” but now I see them as a grace. And I no longer take them for granted.
New friendships are often made from stories. Whenever you meet someone new, that person may ask you, “So what’s your story?” Even when it’s not directly said, it’s an unspoken question. We tell pieces of our life stories to each other …