Many friendships don't last. Some we think will last forever quickly fade while a few endure in unexpected fashion. This is a story of such a friendship.
I have known Rod for thirty-five years. When I was 18 he took me in as a roommate. 7 years his junior, he was a brother, friend, mentor and guitar teacher to me. At times we shared evenings filled with long and deep conversations about faith and life, other times I would sit and marvel at his guitar skills, listening with envy at the beautiful melodies he created, many of which I can still play.
Out friendship has endured these years in unique fashion. We do not speak often but are always glad when we do. We have very few things in common. He loves the outdoors, hiking and nature and knows next to nothing about sports or politics. I am lost outside of civilization and am addicted to sports and am a political junkie. Come to think of it, we have almost nothing in common!
In spite of this we are friends, true friends, not the Facebook sort, but the kind that would come to one another's side at a moment's notice without question.
We remain friends because of a single, deeply shared commonality. We are brothers in faith. In our own ways and in our own worlds we each live each day doing our best to serve the God we love, the God who first loved us and who made us brothers.
Which is why I found myself sitting alone in a coffee house in an unfamiliar neighborhood in Long Beach on a Sunday night a few weeks ago. Rod was playing, one of three artists scheduled to perform that night.
I listened to him sing about life and about loss, about a search for meaning and purpose, sharing his gifts and talents with all those God brought his way. He was genuine and transparent, honest and forthright. He was Rod. This is who and how he is.
As I listened I was transported back 35 years, to a place where I was once again sipping coffee listening to his music and looking up to a man who possessed a level of character and integrity to which I aspired. He is still an inspiration to me.
There is no question that I would not be who I am today were it not for Rod. His friendship has been such a gift.
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