I recently established contact with a great friend that I attended school with for twelve years in Gaffney and at least one semester at CCU ( Clemson Christian University). We enjoyed a lengthy discussion as we covered quite a few topics. We talked about our wives and families. It was a joy hearing about spouses and the accomplishments of our children. Career paths were discussed. Mark was the strength coach for the Utah Jazz and I used my association with him as a ministry tool when I was working amongst some young, talented, NBA loving, kids in an environment that was less than ideal. I had instant credibility when I told them…”My friend Mark knows John Stockton and Karl Malone!”. I, of course, told him I was The Senior Pastor/CEO of Poplar Springs Ministries in Shelby NC. I actually did not do that. I shared that I served a wonderful church and staff in the Shelby / Boiling Springs area , Poplar Springs. We discussed mutual friends , departed parents , teachers and classmates and eventually got into some discussion dealing with appreciation and the value of old friends with a shared past.
I had the opportunity to tell Mark that he saved me from years of humiliation on the basketball court where I am a mediocre player until the opposition discovers my “left handedness”. That’s when I venture toward “pathetic” on the basketball skills scale. My great friend took me aside at Clemson one day and shared with me that my jump shot would result in ridicule from opposing players and would render my dating life non-existent. No one wants to go out with a guy who shoots a basketball like a cartoon bullfrog tossing a shot put. To say my jump shot was ugly is like saying our recent summer was a little tepid. Mark needed to know he enabled me to salvage a significant portion of my manhood and that he is a valued part of my life. My accomplished friend reciprocated with some words of appreciation as well and I left the conversation thinking …..”There was some real content in that interchange.” We also made arrangements to contact some of our other friends and schedule a meal together when he comes in from out west.
Is there someone you need to connect with soon? If you do, let me suggest that you savor the experience and shower your conversation with words of appreciation. Tell them specifically how they have enhanced your life experience and in the process let them know God has used them to make your life a little more pleasant. Call, text, or email an old friend today. I look forward to hearing how it works out.
Poplar Springs, you are appreciated, significant friends….thank you!