“Mr. Brooks, Mr. Keegan is on line 2.”
“Thanks Carrie.” Instantly my mind flashed back 30 years. It was summertime and I was 12 when I first met Steve Keegan. He was fifteen and was larger than most grown men. He was blessed with broad shoulders and blessed and
cursed with too much testosterone. He had no fear and lived for taking chances.
I on the other hand was a prepubescent bookworm, a nerd. I was a rule follower. Steve was a rule breaker, a risk taker. Not because he was bad but because it was fun. He needed the adrenalin rush that came with seeing what he could get away with. He taught me how to inhale cigarettes that summer. I thought I was going to pass out.
Steve and I grew up in the same neighborhood and I saw him occasionally as we grew up but didn’t run in his crowd. By the time I was in high school I lost touch with Steve. A year or two after I graduated I ran into Steve at my older brother’s house.
“Hey Tommy when you stand in the light just right I can see you have a little mustache!” he joked.
“Ha, ha, real funny Steve” was the best I could come up with. It’s even less funny since Steve could grow a full mustache in an afternoon when he was 16 and I still can’t grow one. But I was really glad to see him again. We agreed to meet a couple days later to catch up.
When we got together all I could do was talk about my recent conversion experience and amazingly enough Steve had said he had wanted to talk to me about the Lord too. We spent the next couple of years reading, studying the word, and talking scripture and doctrine. We disagreed some but most frequently agreed. We backslid together, separately and at times one kept the other from falling. When one fell the other lifted him up. Over the years we have helped each other through divorces we didn’t want and encouraged each other when no one else was able to.
We’ve laughed together and cried together. Mostly we’ve laughed. We have no secrets and know we don’t need any. Over the years I’ve had to tell him to throttle down his testosterone and he’s had to push me out my door to live a life that isn’t just in books. Sometimes he’s the only one that will tell me what I need to hear. When others would be afraid to hurt me with the truth he cares enough to not hold back and I’ve never regretted it. I’ve done the same for him. We’ve stood by each other in matters of faith when no one else would.
As far as friends go we make the oddest pair. Now thirty five years later, I am still a bookworm. Of course, now I prefer the term computer geek. Steve’s in construction and still more manly than ten men. What has made us closer than most friends is not that we grew up in the same neighborhood but our faith in Christ. We had Jesus in common. We both had very real conversions. We both were changed and somewhere in the middle we forged a bond that was built on Christ. It was our common faith, a very real desire for God that brought us close. It is God that keeps us close. I always liked Steve but if it weren’t for Christ I don’t believe I would love him the way I do. If it weren’t for Christ I doubt that Steve would have chosen me for a best friend either. We sure didn’t plan this friendship but I believe The Lord did and I sure am glad He did. I hope you have a Steve in your life. Hey I have to go. I have a call to take.
“Hey Steve! What’s up!”
As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17 New King James
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