“Son, who is your best friend?”
“Jake is my best friend!”
“JAKE is my best friend!”
My son and I often do this light-hearted repartee, both of us laughing as I feign surprise and disappointment with his answers. Jake is a few years younger than my son and for nearly 10 years, they have shared a lasting bond. My son is protective of Jake and often takes him aside to pray with him before our families have a meal together. Jake is always caring and attentive to my son who has Down syndrome because his younger sister also has Down syndrome and he is sensitive to her special needs. Our two families came together because of our children and we, the parents, have also become close friends.
Recently, we were invited to their home to celebrate a birthday for Jake’s mother. It was a gala affair and the children were entertained with a bouncer. We all enjoyed the day and were grateful that my son was able to spend some time with Jake. Jake’s father texted me a week later and was anxious to share an incident of what happened at the party. Oh no, I thought! Did something happen between the two of them? Indeed, something did.
“Listen,” my friend began on his phone call. “Remember my wife’s birthday party?”
“Yes…great time, thanks again. What’s up?” I hesitatingly asked.
“Remember we had a bouncer downstairs for the kids?”
“Well, when our boys were playing together, there was another boy, a classmate of Jake, who had a meltdown.”
“The bouncer was not inflating so he became agitated and started acting out. When Jake saw what was happening, he immediately hugged his friend and attempted to talk him down. Jake had seen this before in his classmate and knew how to defuse it. He then called out to another friend to take your son and my daughter away from this situation.”
I listened in stunned silence.
“But your son didn’t want to leave! He thought Jake was in danger as he held this other kid who was struggling in his arms. So he got a beach ball and threw it at the kid to try to break them up as he was yelling, ‘Jake! Jake!’ My son then yelled out, ‘It’s okay!’ and repeated his request to take your son away from all of this, but he wouldn’t leave until he knew Jake was safe. In the end, no one was hurt but Jake didn’t tell us about what happened until a week later.”
Tears rolled down my face as I listened to my friend share this tender story of friendship. After the phone call, I shared the story with my wife and daughter, who had the same reaction. I then went over to my son, hugged him, and said, “Thank you for taking care of Jake at Auntie Sally’s birthday party. You love Jake, don’t you?”
My son looked at me and smiled. “Jake is my best friend.”
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 17:17 (ESV)
There are many examples of friendship but all are defined by a deep and abiding love for one another. I thank God for the friendship that my son and Jake share. Their devotion to each other embodies the same selfless love that God offers to all of us through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.