A year or two after I first started in Youth Ministry, I met a fellow Youth Worker. I remember the location of our first meeting pretty well, it was in downtown S.C. on a cold evening in December. Our groups were getting together to hand out blankets and sing Christmas Carols. There were about 5 different churches involved, with teenagers everywhere. I'm a pretty shy person by nature. I'm quiet and don't really like to draw a whole lot of attention to myself. The other Youth Worker, totally different. He's pretty darn outgoing, likes to make others laugh and is not afraid to strike up conversations with people. I remember watching him, impressed with his outgoing attitude and not really sure what to make of him.
Fast-forwarding a couple of years, this fellow Youth Worker turned out to be a very good friend. There were four of us (I was the only girl) who would get together regularly for breakfasts, plan joint activities for our youth groups, and just in general became good friends. Little did I know what I was in for.
One normal day I checked my cellphone only to see that I had missed a phone call from my Youth Worker friend. I innocently retrieved my voicemail only to be accosted by a noise that sounded like a cat wailing only it was a person singing...I remember thinking "What drunk person stole my Youth Worker friends phone and called me only to sing some random song??" Then it hit me, this was my friend. That's when I started thinking of him as my Song Friend.
Over the course of the next couple of years I would hit play on the answering machine at work and hear songs about sandwiches (it apparently got lost) and other randomness. My Song Friend knows I like to laugh, which makes me an easy target. The songs brightened my day though, and reminded me that I was cared for by other people in ministry, that I wasn't alone. Though as a Worship Leader I was pretty certain I was never going to ask my Song Friend to actually sing on the Worship Team...ever.
Then the songs stopped. Things in my Song Friend's life got messy and tough. There were a lot of moments of deep sharing, the playfulness wasn't quite as light. Many fervent prayers have been said on behalf of Song Friend and the bond grew tighter in our circle of friends. God is mysterious sometimes and we don't always understand it. That year of change in my Song Friend's life was dramatic, scary and started a shift in our circle that changed everything. One of our circle moved away, Song Friend moved out of ministry into the "real world" and we didn't see each other as often. The times together became a little more awkward as we all adjusted to the new changes in our friendship. I've been thinking a lot about Song Friend lately. I miss him, I miss our circle, I miss sitting across a table talking about life, ministry and everything in between. I miss being teased over my Amy Grant posters or not driving with the convertible down on cold but sunny days in January. I miss my Song Friend.
Saturday I was at church for a work day. I was expecting a student to show up to help and he wasn't there so I went into my office to check my messages. I hit play on my answering machine and the noise coming from my answering machine made me stop and think "What drunk person left a message on my answering machine?" It hit me fast and furious. I knew that voice! I remember that wailing! That's Song Friend! And singing an Amy Grant song??!!! It was beautiful, it was marvelous, I laughed so hard I was doubled over, tears began to form in my eyes. It was so good to hear that voice.
I'm going to listen to that message over and over and over again, until the day I accidentally hit delete and erase all my messages. My Song Friend is back. Life just got happier again.
"Angels watching over meeeeeeeee......."