This morning I’m remembering.

Remembering people and events and conversations.

Remembering people who influenced my life in positive ways.

Remembering friends willing to endure a relationship with me. Not just for days or trends, jobs or moods.

For seasons. For years. For decades.

One morning last week I spent time with my best friend from high school (I’m honored to be spending time with him regularly again—please read about it on my book Equilibrium), then a dear friend I’m honored to minister with now, then a close friend from my college days and my years of ministry in Orlando. Those three men have helped me become a better man. Last Friday I spent time with each one in person—before 9:00am. Thank you Bill Parten and Jason McCary and Garrett Bain.

That morning reminded me again: relationships matter.

Yesterday morning I sat and talked to a friend I worked with, then worked for. We listen, we pray, we share ideas, we ask questions. Thank you C. Tracy Reynolds.

Yesterday afternoon I sat and talked with friends I’ve known for the last decade. They’ve moved away. But geographical distance doesn’t necessarily equal relational separation. Thank you Jon Campbell and Erica Campbell.

That day reminded me again: relationships matter.

Do not avoid them. Do not escape them.

Cherish them. Pursue them. Remember them.

I could add more names. The people who understand the value of love and care. The people who have accepted me. The people who have encouraged me. So many dear, true friends I could include.

But I’ll choose two more: a mom and a dad. I’ll include those two.

Today is my Mama’s birthday. I’ve written about her and talked about her. Often. She passed away when I was young. I’m missing her today. I miss her every day. I want to tell her about my friends. I want her to see her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Instead, I think back. And give thanks for her kindness to her kid. Thank you Mama.

I also remember my dad. This month is the third anniversary of his death. I’m thinking again about the years, the meals, the smiles, the miles, the questions. I’m thinking again about our final conversation that Thursday night. Thank you Pops.

This day reminds me again: relationships matter.