I was reflecting on community the other day and thinking back on all the people who have flowed through my life since I joined the community of recovery. There are those that have only come in and out with a face at some meeting or a chance greeting during and after in the halls. There are those that flow through our life and are indelibly posted as having great importance and then move on to other things or other places. One such person that I’ve been thing about lately is John McAndrew.
Some of you surely know John or have listened to his music. He used to live in St.Paul and was a part of many of the recovery groups. John is a musician and more importantly, John is a friend. Someone has defined a friend as “someone that after you are with them, you feel better.” John fits into that category.
A number of years ago John moved to Nashville to pursue his musical talents. As most friendships go, the distance makes it harder to maintain contact. Once in a while John comes to town to perform and I have an opportunity to spend a few minutes catching up. But the most lasting quality of my friendship with John is every once in a while I am left with a sense of awe by his telephone calls. And here is where the “after you are with them you feel better” comes from. Almost always when John ends his telephone calls he concludes with “I love you, Jo.” Not some “oh, by the say…” type of comment. Coming from John it seems genuine and almost always I am caught short and remember that he is the sort of man who not only says it, but means it!
Our last telephone call was to line up some details of his visit to Minnesota to do a concert at The Recovery Church in downtown Minneapolis. We were talking about what it means to come back to a place that feels like home. John was sharing how he missed his many friends in the place that had meant so much to him. Coming back and sharing his gift of music is a way for him to tell our community how much they mean to a man who has moved on to other phases in his life. “It’s a public way to tell people how much they have shaped my life,” he said. And, when he concluded the telephone call with “love you Jo,” I once again was struck with how important it is to actually tell people how much we care.
I am always in awe at how many ways God strikes through the hectic rush of our lives. A simple “love you” from a friend, male or female, stops us for a few short seconds and makes us smile. That pause, for me, is often the place that God sneaks through my busy schedule and shows me the simple voice of love. Thanks John, for the pause of “I love you.” Maybe each of us can carry that message to our friends we love.
Pastor Jo Campe
The article is from our August 2009 issue of The Phoenix Spirit