All I could think about was how much I care about this man. I appreciate his friendship so much. And I honestly love him as if he were my brother by birth and we had known each other our whole lives.

Carver and I embraced each other, and tears poured from my eyes as he held me tight. I had just endured two of the more stressful weeks of my life. My daughter had been in the hospital, and we had just been discharged to go home two days prior.

I had mostly held in everything the entire two weeks. All of the parent guilt and shame. Every bit of stress and worry for her safety and well-being. Even the anger and fear had been pushed down deep inside myself.

Freud would have been impressed by the repression skills I demonstrated.

I had one focus over those two weeks: my daughter has to be okay again. Every waking thought processed, every decision made, every action taken focused on this; for over 300 hours, this was all I thought about.

Until that moment with Carver.

We were all home. My daughter was okay. My wife was resting again.

And I let it all out.

We were at our church one Sunday. I was off for the weekend, but Carver led worship that day. As soon as he finished the opening set, I grabbed him and asked if we could talk.

He already knew what was coming, so he said yes as we quickly made our way to an empty room upstairs. He had about twenty minutes before he needed to go back out to close the service.

As soon as we sat down together, I broke down. The stress, the fear, the anger, the guilt — all of it came pouring out. Carver simply put his arm around me and let me vent for a bit.

Once I had exhausted my words and my voice, he stepped right in and began pouring out every bit of encouragement he could think of. He kept his arm around me and continued to encourage me.

It was as though I’d crumbled right in front of my best friend as he carefully helped build me back up.

After I’d begun to recover myself, he asked if he could pray for me; of course, I agreed. And he prayed God’s care, blessing, and love over my life and family.

As we got up to leave, he pulled me into a hug. I held him tight, feeling strength return to me as we embraced.

As he held me close, Carver said, “You’re my best friend. You’re my brother. I’m so thankful for you.”

I said the same back to him. My final thought before we pulled away was how much I appreciated him.

We left the room, and he prepped to close the service. I walked away, lighter and freer, thanking God for Carver.

Truly, he is more than my best friend.

Carver is my brother.

Do you consider any man in your life as less a friend and more a true brother? What relational experiences have strengthened you or even repaired your brokenness?

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