Do you know what it's like to have someone in your life you couldn't imagine living without? I'm not talking about a spouse, a child or a family member. I'm talking about someone who is merely a friend - someone with whom you have no blood ties with, whom you could drift apart from if the right circumstances lined up to the point where that person could end up being nothing but a distant memory.
I have someone like that. And I would let go of the friendship were it not for one tiny fact: I love him. I'm not talking about romantic love or the love that we associate today with meat pies and favourite places. I'm talking about a love in which I imagine an eternity in God's presence and my heart breaks because at this point, I know he wouldn't be there.
When I first embarked on this friendship, I heard God telling me something distinctly: that I was putting my heart in the hands of a terrorist. Part of me understood that and part of me denied it because this friendship felt so natural. At that point in time, we fulfilled some gap in each other's lives that nothing else had been able to fill. That mutual filling is addictive and when two parties are willing to listen to each other, that is one of the most fertile grounds for friendship to happen.
Now, some time down the track, that fertile period is over and I now find myself in a friendship which many of us have experienced: one in which you are sometimes left feeling hurt, sometimes ignored, and sometimes the sparks just aren't flying no matter how much you try. And when that happens, I hear God's words again, that my heart is in the hands of a terrorist. But now I also hear him whispering addendum, "Love unconditionally."
With others in the past, when I've heard that, I've sighed and mentally rolled up my sleeves for the hard slog ahead. But while I have done that in this case, the slog is different. As I'm wading through the misunderstandings, the times of abandonment and general busyness that sometimes keeps us apart, I remember what it used to be.
And then at some point in time, it suddenly hit me. That I was seeing some part of God's heart. That this was no different to his love for me...for everyone. How many times has he been ignored and abandoned by me? How many times have I given him the worst part of my day, if at all, and expected him to still be there when I needed him? I am the terrorist and he...he has put his heart in my hands.
Yet he continues to remember and visualize what life with me was like and what it could be again. And that Past and Future shoulder his Present to keep on loving. How absolutely humbling and how I hope that I can reciprocate a small part of the delight that he cannot help but take in me.