Sixteen years ago, right about now, I met a guy named Nathan LaGrange. I’ll never forget the first day he and Trish walked into our Sunday School class at the church we were attending and where would eventually work on staff together just a few short years later.
He wasn’t like me. At all. (We would have made great reality TV).
But something in our diametrically opposed DNA just clicked. Our spirits intertwined. Our families became each others’ families. Meeting Nathan LaGrange changed my life. And I’m quite confident to say meeting me played a big rolling in transforming his as well.
Sixteen years later….
70 songs co-written (a few of which deserve to be heard).
472,586 cups of coffee.
We played a 10,000 seat stadium.
Deeply offended an international recording artist.
Talked philosophy like we were smart.
Made stupid YouTube videos.
Cared for each others’ kids like they were our own.
And over the last three and a half years, we launched a church in downtown Indianapolis.
In church circles, we refer to these as “David and Jonathan” relationships.
“After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.”
-1 Samuel 18:1-3 TNIV
Jonathan was the son of the king. David was a shepherd (the slayer of Goliath) and future ruler of Israel. They were from different worlds, different perspectives, but their friendship transcended all obstacles. And the obstacles were many. When circumstances dictated their journeys would part, the pain was unspeakable.
“…David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground.Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most. Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace,for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.”
-1 Samuel 20:41-42 TNIV
And that’s where Nathan and I find ourselves today. After a decade and a half working together, our paths are diverging. Our callings separating. And while we’ll continue to drink coffee (this is a non-negotiable), talk shop, and share a deep abiding friendship, things are undoubtedly going to be different.
So like David and Jonathan, we weep. (We’re not so much on the kissing, but we definitely weep).
Pain this deep can only emerge from deep love. Sometimes it seems safer not to love than feel the pain. To shut people and things out of your life in order not to encounter the hurt.
Don’t do it. Please, don’t do it.
Love deeply. With reckless abandon. Give you heart. Allow your lives to become intertwined. Feel it all. It’s what you were created for. And beneath the sorrow is a priceless treasure. Today, amidst our unbridled anticipation for the future, our sadness is deep.
Because our love is even deeper.