Today, as we often do, my friend, John, and I had an interesting exchange by email. Here’s how it went. My email was the one word, “Interesting,” followed by a link that he could click through to read an article. His email response was the one word, “Wow.” That’s not the first time we’ve had exchanges like that.
The relationship that John and I have is a relationship that can be sustained with one-word conversations. It can even be sustained with telephone conversations that end abruptly because something pressing comes up, someone else walks into the room, or we get another phone call. Neither of us is offended if that happens. Neither of us hangs up in a snit. Our friendship allows us to carry on the conversation the next time we talk…whenever that might be.
Though we live in different cities, over the years we have forged a friendship and relationship that doesn’t have to be sustained by many words, but is sustained by a genuine and deep love for one another. When John’s wife, Janet, died, I felt honored that he could be brutally honest with me about the raw emotions he experienced at the time. From the time Janet had been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, John and I either spoke, wrote, texted, or emailed one another nearly every single day. I felt it was not only my “duty” as a friend to “be there” for him; but it also helped me work through the feelings I experienced for John, with John, and with my own family as we struggled.
The main thing that helped us through, and sustains our relationship to this day is not only our one-word conversations, but the One Word. Neither of us are perfect. There are times we have hurt one another. There are times when we’ve asked for forgiveness from one another. But those things have only made our relationship stronger. Our relationship is more than just an earthly one. We know that because of the One Word, who became flesh and dwells among us, our relationship is one that is painted against the backdrop of eternity. It is a true treasure, sustained by the One Word.
Martin Luther wrote of the devil that “one little word (could) fell him.” That “little word” is Jesus. When the devil tries to wreck relationships, the One Word is there to repair. But He does so much more than repair; He feeds, sustains, and gifts relationships so that they have an eternally enduring quality.
Do you have a relationship that can be sustained even with one-word conversations? I’d love to hear your stories and examples…