This morning I talked to my friend Darlene, who I’ve known since fourth grade. She is one of those friends who gradually faded to the background of my life after I got married. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. Suddenly I was married and she wasn’t, then I had my oldest son, and eventually she moved to Florida. Every now and then she would call or send a card or surprise me with a birthday gift. On rare occasions, we got together when she visited her grandma in California. The last time we talked was eight years ago. Then, out of the blue, she called while I was at Bible study last night.
I couldn’t help feeling bad as I got ready to return her call this morning. It hit me that Darlene is always the one to call me. Looking back over the past decade and a half, I couldn’t remember the last time a card exchange started with me. When was the last time that I sent her a gift? About five years ago she called and left a message on my voice mail; the message got erased before I had a chance to return it. Some friend! Yet last night she thought to call me. She still wanted to talk to me. When we talked, I didn’t sense any resentment. We just enjoyed catching up.
Darlene remained faithful to me even when I wasn’t faithful to her. She could have said “forget her. This friendship is getting way too one-sided.” In other words, she didn’t treat me the way some might have. Or the way (gulp) I’ve treated others—the way I might have treated her if the situation had been reversed.
In many ways, Darlene modeled Christ—faithful and forgiving. By doing this, she prompted me to re-examine some things and try to change.
It’s Jesus’ kindness that leads us to repentance, and I believe He uses people in a similar way—allowing them to treat us with such undeserved grace that not only want to do things differently in the future, but hope to reflect them.
Thanks for calling me, Darlene. And thank you God, for using this precious friend to open my eyes.