| from John Hannigan |

This is part 2 of Wednesday’s blog, click here to read that first! Click here to read Part 1.

I realized there is no bill to pay. Kate was my unpaid friend. So I did the right thing. I flew to Kansas City with an envelope full of money, walked into her school (not the one that she was in when I was a student), and asked to see her. She hugged me, walked me silently to her office, and we sat down. The silence was deafening. I sat the envelope on her desk. She looked at me, the envelope, picked it up, and slid it into her purse and said, “Thanks. So kiddo, how are things?” That was it, not a lecture, not a big to do about how I had screwed up, just a thanks. 

Kate is a friend, a real, true, ride or die, figure it out kinda friend. People have questioned our friendship for years. They want to put a label beyond friend on it. She’s not my mom, not my grandmother, she’s no longer my teacher, she is my friend. She has an unconditional love for me that creates a safe environment to connect. 

You see, Kate says she knows me and understands me, because she is me. God blessed me with a friend who could help me move through life with fewer roadblocks than she had. Not roadblocks that were societal, but with the roadblocks that we put in our own way. She walks with me, helping me clear the path as I walk, reminding me that there is something better in front of me. 

Remember her reaction to my paying back the loan? She didn’t let me get away with my behavior for long. We had dinner before I left town and she read me the riot act. But not how you think. She implored me to not let anything get in the way, no roadblocks, of a good friendship. She told me to treasure the relationships I had, and that it was okay to make mistakes, but I should fix them quickly. 

So things continued, back to normal. She visited, we talked, and life was good. But then the relationship hit a roadblock again. It was on pause. I had done something, she had said something, I decided that our friendship wasn’t okay where it was. Really I was embarrassed again, and so I reacted the way I do, the way she knows and understands, PAUSE. 

And then the text. “Seriously? After all these years of friendship, is this how it ends? A brick wall because you are avoiding repairing. Surely our history would suggest that things like this could be (and have been) worked through. So, what shall it be? An ending that always brings sadness or betrayal or regret? Always is a long time.”  I ignored it. I was invested in being mad, getting my way, and being embarrassed. And then I got this text, “So, are you game for riding in on that white horse and saving the day? … Please let me know whether or not (let’s at least flex that muscle)” Again, no response from me, but now I was thinking.

See the unconditional love in her. Remember, she knows me, she is me. So, I called, and she said “Hey kiddo, how’s it going?” And we talked, for 3 hours. Friendship is messy, it’s weird, and it can get crazy at times, but it’s worth it. To be known by someone, someone who has the context of your story is important. 

Had I listened all those years, I would have realized that she was also showing me how to have a good marriage, be a good dad, son, employer, and so much more. It wasn’t until recently that I have realized the foundation that she has laid for me. It wasn’t until very recently that I saw that the Lord was teaching me something about who He is. 

God knows you, and me, the way Kate knows me. He has the context, the history, the backstory. He designed it, He created you. He desires us to walk with transparency in our relationship with Him. We can’t hide anything and we should not want to. He also offers unconditional love. There are consequences, we may get a lecture, but He loves us deeply and we have an undeniable hope in Him. Jesus paid for our friendship on the cross when he died so that we may have eternal life. He paid a price greater than any of us could. His unconditional love for us was shown on the cross.

Kate has taught me so much, and I look forward to a long friendship with her, I have much more to learn. If I apply what I have learned so far to all of my relationships, I will end up rich. I know the basis of any relationship starts with unconditional love.

Romans 12:10 says “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Let us love others well today! 

Do you realize that there is nothing you can do that will make God not want you? Do you need to heal a relationship today? Extend grace, walk humbly!

John Hannigan has been passionate about helping both businesses and families for over twenty years. Married to his best friend, Melissa, and father to four wonderful kiddos, John’s passion and zest for life keeps him and his family always ready for the next adventure. Whether he is leading mission trips to Puerto Rico, serving families in his local church, guiding strategy and vision sessions with his clients, or taking his family on a spontaneous trip while keeping everyone laughing, John glorifies God each day by using the talents and gifts he has been given. He is excited to contribute to the Celebrate Kids team.