Warning: This post was not approved or proofread by my wife. I am no longer responsible for any strange feelings you may have after reading it. If you feel the need to try to understand how my mind works – good luck! I invite you to offer constructive comments at the end of the post…I will probably ignore them, but you have been warned.
In the mid 90’s, we moved away from our family in Michigan to a very strange place called “Wisconsin“. This whole new world of fried cheese curds and Brat Fests was exciting but the rabid Packer Fans made us nervous and often homesick. For the first several years, as we adjusted to being so far from family, we would make frequent trips back home. The 8 hour trek through Chicagoland and then on through to the eastern side of Michigan would often begin at the end of the day. Once the sun set, my wife and kids would soon fall asleep and I would be left “alone” to navigate through endless toll booths and dark highways.
Driving in the wee hours of the night, the mind and the body come together to do crazy things to stay awake. However, after I had exhausted all of the traditional methods – loud music, lowered windows, making obnoxious sounds, biting my knuckles or smacking my own face – the family’s “need” for sleep required me to resort to the most effective SILENT method of staying awake: pulling nose hairs! (It is at this point that my wife denounces me and cancels all of her social commitments until her disguise is complete). Those of you who have done the long, late-night haul know exactly what I am talking about. The physical pain of trying to stay awake is brutal but eventually the cool air from the lowered window or the loud music become the pesky minions of Mr. Sandman. It is only a firmly pulled nostril follicle that will snap you back to reality. The searing pain and watering eyes from a single severed strand is good for at least 20 miles…pray that you have enough follicular growth to last the journey! The painful process may save your life.
A few weeks ago I called Randy, a very good friend of mine. We now live in North Carolina but Randy still lives in Wisconsin (sorry, buddy!). He is a successful business owner and I wanted to ask his advice on an important business decision. True to his nature, Randy’s initial response was supportive, excited and affirming for our project. But then he says, “Can I ask you a few questions?”. Without much thought, I agreed – and he began to ask questions that seemed to call into question my judgment! He asked about my motives; my reasons for certain decisions and whether I was prepared for this or that. For about a millisecond, I was vexed! But then it hit me…he just pulled a nose hair! I was “falling asleep at the wheel” of life and had not fully considered the hard questions. Randy not only knew the right questions, he was willing to ask them; even if it was uncomfortable or difficult for me to hear! A True Friend…I am truly blessed!
There is a Proverb that says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” (Proverbs 27:6) Why would a friend wound you? Because he loves you too much to see you make stupid choices! Randy was being the truest of friends because he chose to ask the hard question and allow his trust in the relationship to provide the support. The “pain” was temporary and short-lived but well worth the insights that eventually came from that conversation.
I wonder? When you have the chance to stand in the gap for your friend and make them accountable for their decisions or question them on the direction they are heading, what do you do? We are called to be Salt and Light to the world (Matthew 5:13-16). It is correct to apply this analogy to being a witness to the lost – a good thing, for sure! The world needs to have us share the Gospel in a way that makes them thirsty for Truth and provides a clear view of that Truth. I wonder, though, is there an alternate application to this command to be Christ to those around us? Are we being Salt and Light to our closest friends and loved ones?
- Salt burns in the open wound! It cleanses and drives out infection. It forces us to look at the gaping sore and address the need.
- Light exposes the slightest flaw! It causes us to inspect the small details that may be ignored in the dim glow of our own ‘self-centeredness’.
If we are to be the ones who “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2), perhaps we should throw a little salt, shine a little light and pull an occasional nose hair for those we call friend or family!
OPEN MIC: SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
- Who has been the friend you needed to jolt you back to reality?
- Have you been able to be that friend to someone else?
- Share your thoughts in the “Reply” section below.