Carole King is one of my mom's favorite artists, and her music is stuff that I grew up listening my mom sing and, eventually, singing with her. Especially "You've Got a Friend." (We can do amazing harmonies on that song. Just saying.)
It's only been in the past couple of years, though, that I really began to understand the depth behind the lyrics, and what it feels like to have a friend like that.
When you're down in troubles
And you need some love and care
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night
You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer, or fall
All you got to do is call
And I'll be there
Yes, I will
You've got a friend
To be a friend like that, it takes true selflessness and dedication and loyalty. It takes caring about someone with your whole heart and making them a priority. It means being completely invested in their life and having your heart connected to theirs. It means there's a bond there that goes beneath the surface and an instinctive trust and knowledge of each other that can't be taught or even explained.
Clayton was that friend to me today. (He always is, let's be real.) He may not have literally flown to New York, but he still showed up big time. I sent him a text last night saying that I was feeling down and I wished he was here to give me a big hug, and without hesitation, he replied "You free tomorrow? Let's FaceTime." Without pause or question, he told me he was coming.
Two hours and thirty-five minutes. That's how long we spent together. We were just in each other's presence, and things somehow felt less stressful and complicated because of it. Half the time he was doing chores and not even looking at the phone and I was laying in my bed staring at the ceiling, and my world just felt better because through space, he was there with me. He told me that's a sign of true friendship - you don't even have to be doing something, just being together feels good.
When days like today happen, and I think about him and his love and loyalty toward me, I just feel this overwhelming desire to love harder. To do everything I can to make someone else feel the way I felt today knowing that I'm loved this much. Bonds like this, they are really powerful life-changing things. I am so much better because I have a brother like Clayton. I don't know what this past year would have looked like without our regular FaceTime dates and time together.
And you know what the best part is? When he finally really did have to go, I almost hung up without praying, which is our usual end to our conversations, and he stopped me. "Wait, don't you want to pray?" (With some crack about how I was so anxious to get rid of him, because of course, this is Clayton.) And that made me realize something new. As close as we are, and as much as we love each other, it all always comes back to Jesus. I guess that's one of the perks of having a best friend who's in seminary to become an Episcopal priest. I can never lose sight of the fact that Jesus really is the ultimate comfort. Having someone who helps me keep my eyes and heart on God is the biggest blessing of all. I want to do that for others.
Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for the grace He's shown in not just having us meet (since we all know what a weird occurrence that was) but in the ways He's allowed our friendship to grow, from the Reformation classes, to the Friday lunches, to these FaceTime dates now hundreds of miles apart but somehow closer than ever. What my brother and I have, it's something special, and I couldn't have dreamed it or made it happen if I tried.