Cartoons, Dreams, and Old Friends

by Andy Wood on August 10, 2009

in Life Currency, Love, LV Cycle, Waiting

old friendsIn a previous administration, a lady in our church came back from a trip and brought me a page-per-day calendar.  On each page was a funny cartoon about life in Church World.  I loved it!  Whoever the cartoonist is, he knows church people. 

Whenever I found a cartoon that was particularly funny to me, I tried to share with somebody else I thought could appreciate it as much as I did.  One day I found just such a cartoon.  I laughed out loud, and it reminded me of someone.  But it took me a minute to realize who the cartoon made me think of.  Then like a lightning bolt it hit me:  the name and face of an old friend.  The things the cartoon made fun of were things that he and I used to laugh a lot about.  It made me think of him so much, I almost sent it to him . . . in a blank envelope. 

Within seconds my laughter had turned to a peaceful sadness.  The cartoon was still funny, but the situation it reminded me of wasn’t.  The last time I had contact with my old friend, I had disappointed him very badly.  I didn’t mean to hurt him, and he knew that.  He wasn’t bitter at me. I still called him my friend, although I hadn’t been much of a friend to him.  But circumstances beyond our control had prevented us from healing and rebuilding what once was a wonderful, close friendship.  It was very sad, and at times very painful.

That night I dreamed of him – I’m sure because of the cartoon.  In my dream I walked into a room and, to my surprise, there he was.  We looked at each other uncomfortably for a minute.  (I must point out here that in the dream my old friend was wearing glasses.  Ugly ones.)  Then without saying anything, we hugged.  And I cried.  He held me, and I sobbed and sobbed like a little baby.  We never said anything.  And as quickly as it came, the dream was over.

I kept the cartoon in my wallet, both as a reminder and just in case.  And one day, sure enough, I ran into my old friend.  And he ran into my cartoon.  I’m sure I was more blessed than he was.

There is a point to all of this.  It’s one thing to “stop and smell the roses along the way.”  But go a step further than that.  Take the fragrance of the rose and share it with someone you care about.  If a cartoon is funny to you, save it for someone it makes you think of.  If the moon or a sunset looks especially beautiful to you, share it with someone, before that transient beauty slips away.  If there is no one within the sound of your voice, pick up the phone and call someone.  Tell them to get off Facebook or out from in front of the TV long enough to look out the back door.  If you see a rainbow, tell somebody!  Show it to a child, or take a picture to share with special people.

But sometimes the person you are thinking of can’t be reached.  Perhaps they are in heaven.  Maybe they’re a prodigal, living out of touch in some distant place.  Maybe they’re angry, or disappointed in you, or Providentially hindered from being close to you.  If that is true, let me encourage you:  hold on to your cartoons, and hold on to your dreams.  And above all, hold on to your confidence in Jesus.  He still makes dreams come true.  And He still gives us smiles and memories to share with others.  And one day, in His timing, you’ll never have to say, “Good-bye,” or “I’m sorry” again.

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