God, Thank You for My Real Friends
11 August 2022
On 20 February 2022, I released an e-newsletter in which I shared my struggle with all that I believe is going extremely wrong in America. The title was “Disgusted, angry, frustrated, struggling against hopelessness; and a whole lot of other destructive emotions.” That piece is available at http://www.karlmerritt.com/2022/02/20/disgusted-angry-frustrated-struggling-against-hopelessness-and-a-whole-bunch-of-other-destructive-emotions/. That was the last time I did any writing.
It is of grave personal concern for me that I have not been able to bring myself to write. Day-after-day for the months since February, I have repeatedly thought that every day would bring my return to writing. It just had not happened. It had not happened because of my state-of-mind as described in the comments referenced above.
On 8 August 2022, I watched as reports that the FBI had raided the home of former President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago in Florida flooded television channels. Given my absolute disgust with what is being done to our country, that was like spraying thousands of gallons of jet fuel on an already burning monstrous forest fire. I just sat there trying to maintain my composure. Even in the midst of all that I believe Democrats and Republicans in Name Only (RINOS) are doing that, if not stopped, will destroy this country; I could not believe what I was seeing. The weight that keeps me from writing seemed heavier.
However, I had an experience the next morning, 9 August 2022 that got my attention and pointed me to writing again. On a regular basis, I meet for breakfast with a group of Christian men. Near the end of our time together on this day, the man sitting to my right asked, “Karl, what are you doing these days?” I responded by saying that I was working in the yard and walking the neighborhood. I added that I was not writing and wanted to get back to it, but had not been able to do so because the topics that I write about weigh so heavily on me. He was aware that my focus is political, social, and religious commentary.
In response, this fellow Christian said, “Karl, maybe you should try a different kind of writing; maybe a novel.” I heard what he said and then looked at his face. In that moment, I realized that this man was not just making conversation; he was speaking out of concern for me as a person. Then I looked at the other six men at that table. Across the years of these breakfast meetings, I have always seen us as tight-knit and a mutually supportive group. On this occasion, the depth and value of that mutual support struck me like never before.
Over the hours that followed, my thoughts turned to other friendships. There is that friend in Texas along with one in Florida; both dating back to my time in the Navy. Then one in Colorado and another in the Raleigh area from my years spent with them volunteering at a non-profit committed to helping young black boys build a foundation for successful living. Another one lives in the Charlotte area; we met during my time as a realtor. Finally, the 90-plus year old with whom I played golf on a regular basis until about three years ago when medical issues ended his playing. Pausing for serious reflection, I realized that, like the men around that breakfast table, these are “real friends” in that their concern for me is genuine; there is no pretending and they wish me well.
The final piece of what I believe was God getting my attention regarding resuming writing came from my wife. I sat down at my desk and there on it was a two page note from her. It was dated 1 March 2022. I have no memory of having seen the note before. Consequently, I asked if she had just put it on my desk. The answer was, “No.” Her note offered words of encouragement and included an uplifting Bible verse along with some very meaningful words from a hymn. All of this from a note that, as best I can tell, did not show itself until I desperately needed it. This was the action of not only a wife, but a “real friend”.
So, what does all this have to do with my not writing for months? Because my positions regarding the topics that I address are routinely very counter to “Wokeness”, totally out of line with how black people in America are expected and even commanded to think, and I have the audacity to be guided by what I believe God calls me to in a nation that is more and more anti-God, mine is a rather lonely life. Couple that with the harsh pain of watching the country that I love being destroyed, writing proves very difficult; and the cost in terms of personal rejection along with the possibility of financial and/or physical harm come into play. However, that breakfast experience and the follow-on reflections of that day reminded me anew that it is not just God and me; although few in numbers, God has blessed me with some “real friends”. That reminder was timely and needed.
God, thank you for my “Real Friends” and for Your use of them in reviving me.
(No media entity may publish this article without the express written permission of Karl Merritt.)