Time is the only currency that matters, because once you spend it, it’s gone. So invest wisely.

I look at this photo and I see so many different things.

First, I see pure black boy joy. I mean, look at those wide grins. It makes me think about the story behind those smiles.

Second, I can’t help but notice how we’ve changed. We’re no longer the fresh faced youth from South Carolina with something to prove. Now we’re the *fresh faced* grown ass men who’ve learned that we have nothing in fact to prove. Our existence is evidence of our worth, thank you very much. That may not have been the message we were originally told by society, but it’s one we’ve each learned.

When we each first met on a hot afternoon in Charleston, South Carolina for our first day of Governors School, we were each on a mission. That’s what attracted us to one another. That, and the fact that we were one of the few black young men in the program.

There’s something about what happens when your soul recognizes it’s counterpart in another. You just know. Ever since then, we’ve all been friends.

What does it take to hold a 20+ year friendship together? That’s the existential question we mulled over drinks after our entertaining but highly unproductive golf game. That’s just like us to get deep real quick. Time is of the essence when we get together because it’s so rare. We all live in different cities now, New York, Atlanta, Charlotte. So we make time for trips like these as often as we can. And we supplement our in person times with the necessary connective tissue of an active text chain and weekly calls.

It’s the intentionality in relationships that matter. Staying tight is a choice. It’s not automatically the case that people who’ve known you the longest will automatically know you the best. Because over time as you grow, you change, and people don’t always grow together. Sometimes you lose a few relationships along the way because you end up growing in opposite directions. So, you have to choose to grow together in any friendship.

Side note, I read an article a while back about how grown men over 35 don’t find new friends. So, if you haven’t invested in deep, meaningful relationships at up till that point, you’re out of luck. Yikes. What is it about us dudes that we don’t want to be seen and known? The truth is, for all of us in our lowest moments we want to be seen. In our highest moments we want to be known.

Here’s another question we’ve wrestled with recently: what does it mean to show up for one another? Over the past year one of us has lost a mother, another one of us has become a father for the first time, and we’ve looked to one another for guidance in countless existential debates about the state of our faith. Sometimes all it takes so show up is simply your presence. It has been said that the best gift you can offer someone, is the gift of your attention.

Showing up also involves understanding each other’s dreams and story arc. No one is prouder of our accomplishments, outside of our immediate families, than us. As ambitious teenagers we shared our hopes and dreams with one another. We’ve held onto those dreams for each other, rooting one another on. Fast forward to this weekend, and a brain surgeon, a CEO, and an activist walk into a bar…

Not a bad way to begin a story. Here’s to the next chapter!



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