Alan, My Friend, My Brother

New friends may be poems but old friends are alphabets. Don’t forget the alphabets because you will need them to read the poems.

William Shakespeare

I’ve only gone to see you once or twice in the same number of decades. It seems like forever ago that my parents packed up and headed to Dallas, ripping me from Charlotte. And life has taken us in such different directions. I don’t regret Dallas – I found my dear wife there, had a son there, college, seminary, and so much more. But there are so many things about NC that I hated to walk away from and wish I could’ve never lost. Friendships especially.

And just in the past few days, the news of you back on the hospital brings a deep state of reflection and concern.

Alan, you are my friend. I know I’ve been a lousy one. Even as a teen, I was pretty much a jerk. Few would argue with that. Many are probably glad I was taken away. With years, I look back and grimace when I think of things I did. But I treasure the times we spent together. Many people I should apologize to for things I did, but my friendship with you is not one. But let me stop about me, and get to where I started to head – an appreciation for you.

And the quote I posted above, this is so true. Your friendship is ‘alphabets’ in my life. I grew up so much in those years and your connection was the basis of many of those. You gave me my first and only cigarette – then mocked me and told me not to do that again – while you laughed. You helped me be a rebel but not try too much. You were there during tough girlfriend drama (even causing some of it). We played soccer. Church life. And we did so much together.

As I traverse through life, I acknowledge that much of the way I see life was formed on those critical years. Your friendship is part of the basis, the ‘alphabet’ that helps me form words in the way I see and talk about everything.

I often watch That ‘70s Show and see us as Hyde (you) and Foreman (me) – you the cool, wild one and me the girl crazy geek.

And a few years ago, I was honored to be in your home for a few minutes. In that short reconnection, I got a glimpse of what God has been doing. You served our country in the armed services. I don’t know how that went but I say thank you. I met your wife. And she adores you. You’ve got kids and I see your pride in them. You are appreciated for your voice when you sing in your church. That is so cool and I often wish I had that talent. You play golf (okay, I don’t really care about that – boring). That is just the short list.

We may be separated by miles, and have not seen each other for years, but you are my friend. You are important to me – and many others. You are not alone in all that life is throwing at you. We are connected by the great Holy Spirit in purpose and destiny.

My plans are to come see you. Like Paul said to his friend … we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face …

But if hindered – I know we have eternity.

Alan Kerr, you are my friend. You are my brother. You are never alone in this world.

I love you.

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