It was the longest – and the grossest – hug I can remember.
Rob had had a terrible week. It was one of those times in life where nothing went as planned. He had hit rock bottom.
Ashamed of his addiction and his actions from the week, he approached me with tears in his eyes and snot dripping from his nose. His hair was sticking in every direction and he looked as if he had been electrocuted.
Rob had lost control and he didn’t know how to handle it.
No words were said, we just embraced. He started sobbing and put his head on my shoulder. We just stood there, friend embracing friend. Snot and tears running from Rob’s face onto my coat. A moment that a few months prior could have never been foreseen.
Before this moment, Rob never really needed anything from me, and talking with him was just a pleasant conversation.
He had a college education in architecture, wrestled at the Division I level, and didn’t need much from anyone. He would just come to our Lunches in the Park and thank us for the deeper meaning of our work; he understood it due to his past experiences in the working world.
My friendship with Rob was professional and cordial. We’d update each other on the past week’s happenings, and he’d fill me in on how the Denver Broncos games went – he was an on-the-field security guard.
At times I questioned why I was even talking with him, when so many other people in the park were thirsting for companionship. But this hug showed me exactly why I had “wasted” so much time with him during the past few months.
Rob wouldn’t have come to me in this big moment of pain if it weren’t for all of those mundane conversations before that developed our relationship. Taking the time to get to know him in these small interactions built up a trust that led him to seek me in his hour of need.
This proved to me that no moment with someone is ever useless or insignificant. The qualities of deep friendship come only after moments and hours “wasted” together.
We all need someone at some point in our lives.
Thank God for friends we can trust in those moments where no words can surface and no words are needed. And thank God for all of the little moments that create those friendships.
Blake is from Hastings, NE. He served as a missionary with Christ in the City from 2015-2017 and is now on staff as the Director of College Outreach & Recruitment. He enjoys Husker football, Dr. Pepper, and long road trips.