For a Friend…

by John on April 8, 2013

I was aimlessly reading an article in the Sunday paper and trying to eat something when my phone rang. Looking at the number, I frowned and gave a heavy sigh. I hadn’t spoken to this person in a long time and I was prepping for a very long mea culpa.

“Hey, you’re alive” my friend said as I answered. Trying to smile, I replied that I was and that I was a horrible friend, and I knew that the phone worked both ways. He accepted my half-hearted mea culpa with grace and humor, a trait that I truly admire in my friend.

“I’m passing through Miami, on my way to Panama and wanted to check in with you. Is everything OK? “Everything is fine here” I said, “By the way, what’s going on with your country? The whole place is under construction, it’s crazy down there.”

We chatted some more about Panama, the growth, my fruitless attempts to learn Spanish, and poked fun at each other. Then the conversation took a serious turn.

“John, what’s wrong? You don’t sound good.” “It’s as good as it’s going to be” I replied.
We spoke about what was bothering me, and he listened intently. Then my friend shared the real reason he was flying home. I stopped, took a deep breath, and just listened.

I was mad. Mad that I was so selfish. Mad that I didn’t pick up the phone earlier. Mad because I felt that I had let him down.

We commiserated for a few more minutes and he had to get to his gate. We hung up and promised to call each other when we had some more time. I said a prayer for safe travels and to ease the weight that he was carrying.

Today, I thought of him again as I was getting ready for work. Reaching for my wallet, and business card holder, I smiled. The card holder was a gift from some 12 years ago, a small gesture that had a greater impact, one that still resonates all these years later.

Thank you for calling Greg and thank you for letting me ease your pain for a few minutes, but if you for one moment think I’m going anywhere near where you live in the winter…well that’s just not happening.

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