Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to the Grateful Heart Monday series, where a piece of gratitude from my life is always shared to start my week off on a positive note, which for today is for the two new friends that came into my life only a few months ago, but have blessed it immensely ever since.

For years here in Toledo, I have tried my hardest to make some deep quality friends and have truly struggled in that department, having only developed one good friend here named Frank that began back in 2014. In Massachusetts, the place I lived before here, I seemed to make good friends wherever I went and had an extremely busy social calendar more than not because of it. I have really missed that and have prayed to God year after year here to bring a few more people into my life who would like to spend time with me, who accept me for me, for my uniqueness, and for the fact that I’m definitely an odd duck so to speak. But for years, that prayer went unanswered and because of it, I frequently attempted to do what I could to make them myself, but to no success.

With most of 2019 being such an extremely difficult year where my focus was more on making it through the many tragedies I had to endure that included a number of deaths and far greater health issues, I didn’t spend as much time looking for friends. That’s probably why I found it so ironic that God chose to answer my long gestating prayer for new friends during the period of my life where I felt I was truly at my worst. And, interestingly enough, both came into my life within a week of each other.

Rob showed up at my men’s spiritual group one evening as a guest, as he had come to check it out to see if it might be something he was interested in. He hardly spoke that night, yet for some reason, I felt a connection with him and was compelled to ask him after the meeting that night if he would be open to hanging out with me sometime. He said he would and within a few days, we met for a meal and it wasn’t long into that meal that we both saw how much we had in common. From comics to superheroes, to movies and wacky humor, to a number of mental and emotional personality traits that were quite similar, Rob is someone who ultimately feels a lot like the brother I never had, like that one who knows exactly what to say to either get a rise out of me or to make me burst out laughing. He’s also someone who’s an incredibly great listener and a man of integrity, always doing his best to keep his commitments. Probably the most fun part of my friendship with him is the fact that I’m gay and he’s straight and the two of us play off of that quite often with each other, usually resulting in deeply infectious laughter. In the four months I’ve come to know Rob, I can safely say I treasure his friendship and am extremely grateful for him being a part of my daily life now.

How I met my other recent friend, Mike, is a whole different story. Mike is someone who loves to post a ton of stuff on Facebook about Donald Trump, none of which is ever favorable. He makes it no secret how much he loathes the guy, and for someone like me, who’s non-political and doesn’t care about any of it, it caught my attention. We’d been connected on Facebook for a short while, but were really only friends of friends, never having met each other. One day, after seeing his umpteenth million negative posting on Trump, I decided to message him about it. It was a great icebreaker and enough for him to ask me if I ever wanted to meet for a coffee, which I did and from there, we hit it off immediately. The best comparison I can make of my friendship with Mike is of those famous comedians, Laurel and Hardy. I’m definitely the playful and childlike Laurel, where he is the far more conservative and reserved Hardy. Somehow it just works and Mike and I’ve grown into a very close friendship with him where spontaneous humor is often our norm. Case in point, Mike likes to playfully make fun of my leaf-free yard obsession. So, one day when a leaf blew in front of his car at a stoplight, he abruptly asked whether I wanted to get out and go save it! I, on the other hand, like to make fun of his obsession about these daily sales flyers that come out on Saturdays in these light blue bags, that for some reason he doesn’t get, so he goes out looking for them on other people’s driveways who leave them and could care less about them. You would think he hit the lottery sometimes when he finds one to grab! We certainly play off of each other well with our respective obsessions and humor and over the past four months have grown to care about each other pretty fondly in spite of being extremely different people overall.

So yes, I have two new friends in my life that I feel God has blessed me with that I am extremely grateful for today and have come to love and cherish. One who feels a lot like a brother I never had. And another who feels a lot like I’ve known him on an even deeper level, maybe even from a past life…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson