Thursday, February 17, 2011

An Unlikely Friendship

My good friend, Robert Morris, died yesterday.  He lived his whole life in South Carolina and spent his entire adult life as a pastor in the United Methodist Church.  He will be missed by many.

Our friendship was accidental.  He didn't come into the coffee shop looking for me nor I for him.  But the first time we were both there, we nodded a faint recognition and did that awkward thing people do when they're pretty sure they know each other but are not sure how.  He gets the credit for making the first move.  As I stood at the cash register ordering my tall skinny mocha, he walked over and said, "You're Jenn, right?  I'm Robert Morris."  

The rest is history.  He introduced me to his nephew who was looking for a new church and he told him with great certainty that he needed to come to the church I was planting.  For weeks after I would go into the coffee shop to work and see Robert there with his nephew and brother-in-law.  We would chat for a few minutes and then go to our separate tables.   After awhile, I started Wednesday morning Java with Jenn from 6:30-8:30 and eventually we fell into a routine where Robert and I would pull up on Wednesdays around the same time and start our day together.

Robert was traditional, and I am not.  Robert was a life-long southerner, and I am not (shh, don't tell).  In many ways, Robert made me think of an almost ironic blend of my father and his father.  It makes sense chronologically as I am younger than his kids and older than his grandkids.  But because the age difference didn't seem quite right, most people walking into the coffee shop would give us that look that said, "hmm, that's odd."

But, somehow, it never was.  Robert was a friend, an encourager and a confidante.  He came to our Christmas worship and his feedback was "that was interesting."  We weren't doing anything that connected with him, and yet he believed in our vision and he believed in our purpose because he believed in Jesus and he believed in Jesus' church.

My Wednesday mornings will never be the same, but I am so thankful for Robert and thankful for our friendship.  I can only pray that in the years to come I will be the kind of friend and mentor to future generations that Robert was to me.

Who are you actively encouraging right now and how are you supporting their call from God?

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