There are people you would travel halfway across the country just for a very short visit. That is because when you are with them you are so encouraged and uplifted. However, there are also people you would travel all the way across the country to avoid. That is because being anywhere near them just tears you down and wipes you out.
That was a side comment a speaker made in a speech while I was in college. It might have been Howard Hendricks, but I don’t remember for sure. It is funny that while I have no idea what his speech was about, the side comment though has stayed with me for 40 years!
It is all too easy to think about those people we work so hard to avoid and the harm they bring when we do not manage to avoid them. In fact, since I just mentioned this you might be thinking of someone like that right now. These people come to mind so easily because we have them all around us; they are at work, at church, in the clubs we belong to, in our neighborhoods, and among our relatives. Some we can go out of our way to avoid, some we can’t.
Thinking about them just adds to the negativity in our lives. So I want to reflect on the other group of people. You might have to think harder to identify some of these. For some reason the negative always seems to pop in our minds faster than the positive.
A few weeks ago I was planning a trip and I realized that I would be driving near a couple of very dear friends. They are the kind of friends that I always experience a blessing just being with them. As I looked at the map, it was not much of a detour. However, it was toward the beginning of a long day of driving and if I stopped I would be even more tired during that last couple of hours which tend to have heavy traffic. I reflected for a couple of seconds and decided the visit was more than worth it. So we got together for brunch. It lasted for a couple of hours but seemed like only a few minutes. That visit encouraged me, blessed me, and strengthened my determination to continue going forward in some very difficult areas. Now weeks later, I look back and still draw strength from that time with two special friends. I hope that it was good for them too.
Thinking about that visit reminded of the time a special friend came to the US from the UK for the sole reason of visiting a few friends. She flew from the UK and I had to drive about 400 miles to meet her. Those few days still linger in my memory and I am blessed every time I think back on them. One of my dreams is to have the means and health to fly to the UK even if just to spend a day visiting her; it would be worth it.
Another time I flew all the way across the country partly to go to a conference, but the real value of the trip was the 4 days spent with some friends. That visit gave me the strength to make it through a very rough time in my life.
As I reflected on that first visit and those two wonderful friends, more and more visits with those special encouraging people come to mind. Please take some time to start reflecting on people you would travel halfway across the country to see. Then thank God and them for the blessings they are in your life.
Last but certainly not least, each one of us should strive to be a person others will gladly go out of the way to visit instead of being on their avoid at all costs list.