I have been an Audible.com member for a while now, enjoying my audio book every month. This morning I downloaded Kathryn Stockett’s The Help (Click on the picture for the link to the movie.). I had to be in the car for a long while today, so I started the book as soon as I headed out. Immediately the story and the quality of the narration grabbed me. This is now two in a row on this front. Not long ago I listened to Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, finding as much delight in being read to as I did with Hillenbrand’s prose when I read it. I’m a bit concerned with The Help on this front, as the audio book is my first exposure and the multiple-voice narration is so delightful that I fear my own imagination when I read the text for myself.
In any case, I found myself so engrossed in this story that I wanted to share it with someone, and the first person I thought of took me back to an answer I gave several years ago…
Some years ago (I think it was when we were in pre-marital counseling.) I remember being asked by a text that we were reading, “Who is your best friend?” I was at a different stage in my theological journey at the time, and I answered very quickly: “Christ.” Truth be told, that wasn’t—and isn’t—a bad answer. I remember when I answered so quickly that my then fiancé gave me a quick look of disappointment, a look that faded a millisecond later with a new look that said, “How can I compete with that? And shouldn’t that be everyone’s answer anyway?”
Today, all these years later, and much farther down our winding Christian path, though I still think it was a good answer, it’s probably not the answer I would give. If asked, “Who is your best friend?” the answer is the first person I thought of when I just had to share how much I was enjoying listening to The Help. That person? My wife, Carrie.
That answer has everything to do with my journey as a theologian and as a husband. It’s not that I sing “What A Friend We Have in Jesus” without conviction, it’s that I find it insufficient, for Jesus is my LORD, and I no longer think that calling my wife my “best friend” is a threat to Christ’s “lordship” in my life. In fact, being able to say that my wife is my best friend reflects what may be called a “deeper” understanding of that Lordship, an understanding that appreciates the concept of vocation; that is, the teaching that God is at work in the earthly responsibilities or “offices” in which he places us. In this case that is marriage.
God brought Carrie into my life and all these years later she knows me so well that she appreciates even with a little tone of voice the joy that I found in listening to The Help. God gave me someone to share my joys and sorrows with, a “helpmate,” someone who understands me. At this point I’m not about to make an idol out of that. I thank God that I have a best friend.
Soli Deo Gloria