The Unexpected Friend

A Friend Under a Bridge

This post is for anyone who has said goodbye to a friend … and who hates goodbyes.

I pulled up to his place and texted him, parking, waiting in the alley. Then my phone rang. It was my friend. He was on his way, walking. So, I asked what street he was on, and drove to pick him up.

As we returned to his alley, I parked, readying to say goodbye to a person I never expected to know or meet.

I first met him when he was homeless (a few years ago) when he attended Church under the Bridge.

Back then, when I spoke to him, he offered few words in return. He was quiet and seemingly shy, with a gentle smile.

Friend Finds His Life

In time, he found work and got a place. I would learn that he loved poetry and wanted to write a book. That he had actually written it, long hand, but had no idea what to do next.

So, we met at the library for months, and I helped him, until we saw his first published book come to pass. What a glorious journey to watch.

He went on to write several more books, too. Without any help from me. All on his own. His determination contagious. His perseverance rich with results.

He married earlier this year, after meeting a precious woman from another state. However, when they planned to move back to her area, up north, their money didn’t stretch far enough, and she left ahead of him. They planned for him to come later.

Then a man (a week ago) gave me some cash which would allow me to bless someone, to meet a need. Thus, my drive to town tonight meant I could deliver a bus ticket to my friend! He could now go meet up with his wife!

As we sat in the car, we prayed, and he cried at the goodness of God. For when his back was against the wall, and with his heart aching; God made a way. Oh how, the air was crisp with the smell of hope and expectation.

And then he told me, “My wife is having a baby.”

“No way! For real?”

“Yes, I’m going to have a child.”

And that’s when I wept. “You’re going to make a great father.”

He wiped tears away. “The baby is due early next year.”

“I’m so proud and thankful to be your friend. What great news!”

Friends Become Family 

We talked, lingering, and it was as if we didn’t want to say goodbye. But finally, he disappeared into the apartment building, and I sat in the alley alone, pondering the many times I’d driven down the road to this very spot.

The memories flooded my mind, from seeing his smile, to remembering the time we helped a friend who’d been raped, to trusting God for groceries for his fridge. To praying for rent money to come together. To laughing in the shadows on the streets. To eating cinnamon rolls in a parking lot.

I remembered our nights at the library making way too much noise and getting that look from the librarian. Oh wait, that was me who got the look.

So tonight, I sat for a while in the alley, grateful to have such a dear friend. Grateful the Lord let me meet him. Grateful to know a poet. Grateful to be friends with an author. Grateful to know this man who loves God. Who is going to be a daddy!

A Friend Changes You

My once-homeless friend has changed my life forever! He’s like the younger brother I’ve never had … but would have picked! Oh wait, he is my brother in Christ! So, we are family, for now and for always.

That’s right, my friend has a sister too, and it’s me. And there’s nothing he can do about it! Even if I make too much noise!

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