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?

About the Author

  • Funny, just last night I had a buddy who just let me vent. It’d all been building up, especially after a less than good convo with one of my pastors. I felt guilty for thinking my pastor hadn’t respected where I was at and frustrated that I couldn’t just be myself with everybody in my life. My friend just listened and affirmed that I’d been needing to vent and I was free to do it with him. Can’t tell you what that meant to me. He’s showing his true colors as a friend.

    • Wow – you are blessed to have a friend that will let you vent. I sure wish I had someone like that…maybe someday. Bless you.

    • That venting can be incredibly healing. I’m thankful you have a friend who will be there for you, Robert! What a blessing that kind of friend is.

  • Wow, this is beautiful. I yearn to find a man who can be my Carver and to whom I can be his Carver. You are blessed to have “a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

  • Dean, thank you, thank you. This was moving and beautiful. I am thanking God, because this has happened many times for me over the last few years as I went through and came out of depression. I felt so guilty for taking so much of my friends’ time, but they were there for me 100% of the time. I know what it is like to have the strength of God poured into you by close friends–brothers. I could never have made it without them. “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” How true that Proverb is. I only ask the Lord to help me be as true, as caring, as loving to others as my close friends have been to me. Love you, brother. Thanks again.

  • I find reading this gave me tears. In the past few years, I have been hit very, very hard as most of the people I have known are now gone…my mailbox is empty…the phone for me never rings…and I find some days very sad. I know the promises of the Bible and find comfort in them…but still, it would be great to have a true friend or two. I find hope today that as I seek to be that friend to others…the Lord will provide. Great post!

      • Thank you Bradley…much appreciated…It means a lot. YOB is my family now!!! Appreciate reading all your posts and learning from them.

    • Dave, I’m so sorry to hear the battle of loneliness you’re facing. God does provide, but it doesn’t make the pain go away at the time. I pray God brings brothers into your life to walk with you. I pray you have the chance to invest in others in the way you desire others would invest in you. Stay strong, brother.

      • thank you Dean…as I read the Bible verses about serving others, I would go out and try to “adopt” people to give some TLC too. As people passed, I would adopt some more…and on and on it went. It didn’t matter their age or sex or anything else…and my days would be filled with thinking of ways the Lord would use me to brighten their lives. This past Christmas the bottom dropped out and quite a few people I knew and had “adopted” died around the same time. As I would go on sites like true people I was floored to see so many I used to hear from had died. It’s like starting all over now…thanks again Dean for your kind words…

        • WD, I was off the board for quite a while and did not see this. I’m sorry that I am responding late, but if you need another friend, I would consider it a privilege. I count both Kirk and Bradley as friends. I’m sorry to hear of the deaths of your adopted friends. God’s grace cover you in this difficult time! You can always reach me at

    • Much like kirkdaniel74 and Bradley Joel Morton, I, too, would love to be counted as a friend among your growing community of encouragers, here, Dave. Adding to that, through this season of Lent, I will be praying for you that God will bring a remarkable flesh and bone friend into your world, who will bring touch, an arm around the shoulder, a hug, for you so that you can experience the presence of Jesus with skin on. I look forward to seeing how the Lord steps in.

      • thank you Paul…much appreciated…and it really means a lot. I feel so encouraged reading this…my computer crashed and I was off line for a while…am so sorry not to have responded sooner. I thank the Lord for YOB people!

  • Beautiful story, Dean. Reminds me of a handful of pivotal hugs I’ve experienced over the years. Maybe we’re just super touchy-feely guys, but I honestly think there is something soul-restoring about such an intentional action. I’ve felt holes and chasms closed after hugs like that. I want more of it for myself, sure, but moments like those also make me want to be a better friend — a brother — for others, helping to issue healing in their lives, too.

    • Thank you, Tom. That moment with Carver definitely inspired me to be a better friend and brother to those around me. I can desire an affirmation like that all I want- but unless I am willing to give it, I am asking out of pure selfishness. I’ve learned that I have to be intentional about loving others in the way I desire to be loved.
      And next time I see you, I hope I can provide at least a somewhat meaningful hug for you, my brother.

  • A few weeks back, I finally told my best friend that I had been dealing with unwanted ssa for several years, not knowing what he’d say or do. He wound up giving me the tightest hug he had ever given me & we prayed together. I took a similar risk with another very close friend (through whom I met the guy I consider my best friend, back in 2015) a few days later. He had a similar reaction as my best friend & both of them have told me they’ve got my back in this.

  • I had embarrassing incident in the showers at summer camp when I was eleven. I was mocked and ridiculed by everyone I knew. Six weeks later, I met David Wells; it was only a brief encounter, lasting maybe an hour. Junior high started two weeks later and I met him again in homeroom. He reacted as if we always knew each other. It turns out we shared two thirds of our classes, including gym, lunch and orchestra. That first day in gym, in the locker room, I saw all the other boys undressing. I feared that the incident would happen again. He put his hand on my shoulder, said that it would be okay, and undressed in front of me. It allowed me to function as a normal human being.
    He was my best friend, and I loved him. There was NEVER any sex between us (we were twelve for gosh sakes). We were inseparable, playing pranks together, getting in trouble together, spending the night at each other’s houses. We wrestled and played video games; watched TV, made a robot costume for Halloween. Once while spending the night at his house I mentioned that I would like to see him naked. He dismissed it as though it was nothing, and NEVER rejected me as his friend.
    He took his own life on September 24, 1984. I was devastated. When I found out about his death, I refused to grieve for him, for fear it would make me gay; to grieve would mean I would have to admit I loved him. The Holy Spirit revealed to me that the reason why I went into the gay lifestyle was because I never grieved. I was still in mourning, even after thirty years. It was an act of mercy on His part when He showed me where the grave was.
    Now with the knowledge that I was having sex with men was because I was missing David, the very thought of being with a man makes me nauseous.

    • That close of friend leaves a hole when gone. I’m sorry for your loss and I pray you continue to find healing in it each and every day, Bradley.

  • The poignancy of that article was tremendous! How I wish all of us could often experience that kind of honest and supportive love. There are some who have been close to me, but not to the degree that I saw in this article. I think social censure of our brothers and sisters in Jesus too often keeps us from taking risks like Caleb did. May we all continue to draw on the courage that the Holy Spirit can give us and love courageously and well.

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