I wasn’t sure what to say. I couldn’t get a feel for how my friend felt. Was he upset, angry, weirded out, touched, happy, confused? Henry gave no clue to his thoughts. Only one emotion registered in my own gut: fear.
The first few weeks after Henry left our church were actually harder than I expected. Entering the office each day, I caught myself instinctually looking at his desk to say hello. I found myself wanting to turn around to chat with him about the latest blog I’d just read.
I began to feel an ache around the time each day when we used to go away from our desks to read the Bible together and check in with each other.
I wanted to fill Henry’s absence — but my options were nonexistent. For one, I was now the only guy in my office suite. Second, all the other guys at the church were swamped. I had my good friend, Carver, of course — but his work schedule was almost completely opposite mine.
Henry had been my only other guy to talk to during the work day.
And I didn’t have that now.
A week had barely passed, and I decided that Henry was too close to lose contact. I texted him, just letting him know I was praying for him as he finished up his move.
He responded with a “thanks, man” and a short update.
I figured this would be the new standard for our friendship. The occasional text-with-short-update.
It was better than nothing, I guess.
Two weeks later, though, Henry texted me:
Hey man. How’s it goin? How’s your fam?
I was taken aback. He actually texted me first?
We ended up chatting a little more than just a short update this time. It was nice — actually, fantastic is a better adjective. It meant so much to know that Henry genuinely did feel we were friends.
Reconnecting like this became the norm — every two weeks or so, we’d have a medium-long texting conversation, just catching up with each other. We texted well wishes on holidays and updated each other with urgent prayer requests as they arose.
Then, several months after leaving, I got this text from Henry:
Hi Dean. I hope all is well with you and your fam. Would you want to have a video call tomorrow or Friday just to catch up?
I was beyond thrilled! Reconnecting with Henry on video chat sounded incredible! I quickly responded yes with my availability, and we set it up.
He shared that he’d be in town a few times over the next month. I told him I’d love to meet up for coffee if he had the time; he said he’d see what he could do.
A few weeks later, I was sitting across from Henry in a coffee shop. We were talking face-to-face again. I felt so much relief and peace about it.
Here was someone who’d had such a strong impact on my life, reconnecting and wanting to maintain our friendship even though it took work. And he was putting in equal effort.
This has been a rare thing in my life — especially from this straight married guy who I’d only known a year before he moved.
It truly touched my life.
Then over a month later, a text came through. I smiled when I saw Henry’s name. But then I began reading his message:
I just read your blog post series on me. To be honest, it took courage and time for me to be ready to receive those posts. That’s why I haven’t read them sooner. However, they’ve been on my mind (not even my list) since I left. Thanks for writing them. I’m going to process for a while.
The text took my breath away. I wasn’t sure what to say. I couldn’t get a feel for how he felt. As for me?
I felt sudden fear.
What if I just screwed up this dear friendship? I told Henry he could read the posts about himself — but did I consider his reaction upon doing so? What will this do to our friendship?
I tried grabbing hold of a clear head as soon as possible. I needed to respond. Quickly, I said a prayer and typed back:
Thanks for reading. I can’t imagine the courage it took to read them. I appreciate your willingness to do so. Know I’m willing to talk about or listen to your thoughts on them whenever you’re ready.
Henry simply said thanks.
That was three days ago. The line has been silent so far. And I can only wait till it isn’t anymore.
To be concluded . . .
Have you reconnected with an old friend? Was it awkward reconnecting, or did it feel like old times? Do you have any splintered or ruined friendships where you long for a reconnecting?