A banner of love on a foundation of friendship

It wasn’t love at first sight. His pants were hiked up and he had a foreign style mullet. It wasn’t your red neck variety. It was your other-cultural variety.

I remember riding to our associate pastor’s house. We were going to meet the family that my parents would start teaching Sunday School.

They each seemed so timid. They were very respectful. The most adventurous of them was the four-year-old who kept being put back in his “good little boy” poses.

This began several years of watching this family grow. This began several years of mutual respect and love for each other. Though it was many years before I fell in love with their oldest boy, that love had a firm foundation of friendship.

The friendship view was a beautiful one.

I watched him navigate English, the cultural differences, and the nuances of our sayings.

I watched him be a true friend to everyone who met him and a loyal one to those who made him a priority.

I watched his first crush. I met his two girlfriends. I saw how he treated them. I watch the gleam in his eye when he talked about them. I have always known that whoever got to be “the one” for WK was going to be loved well.

I watched the boy struggle to face the middle stage of manliness while watching his heart break over the absence of his Dad. (Though he would have never put it into words that way.)

I watched the violinist. I watched the struggle of being who he was forced to be, blossom into who God made him to be. I watched him use concert hall fingers in broken down places. I watched his heart crave the ability to bring glory to God over the applause of man.

I watched him grow up. I watched him love. I watched him learn. I watched him play.

And then he became my friend…

He became my ESL friend. On rare occasions, I still get to watch him say or write something incorrect or struggle with a cultural question.

He became my loyal friend. He was ready to fight when others treated me less than he thought they should.

He was the one who treated me well. The gleam in his eye was for me this time. He began to love me well. I got to be the one his heart soared for.

He became the man that practiced forgiveness almost as much as he practiced violin (which was a lot). I also got to be the one he forgives.

He became MY violinist. Oh sure, he will always be God’s violinist, but God shares him with me.

I cannot express how much my heart still trips for this man. I cannot convey how the friendship has turned to love and that my love grows deeper every day.

There are always challenges to every relationship. Ours is no exception, although WK may have gotten the more difficult one to love.

So I woke up this morning next to him. I am blessed to have known him most of our lives. I’m not sure how God picked me for this wonderful gift, but I pray that I never neglect it.

I am my beloved’s and he is mine. His banner may be love, but under my toes is the firm rock of friendship.

I adore you, WK. You always have been and will always be my favorite.

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