Doctrine of Integrity

The auditorium was packed, mostly with people who didn’t want to be there.

It was spiritual emphasis week at my small Bible college which meant that we were all required to spend pretty much every night that week listening to a guy give lectures about something spiritual.

On the last night of the week the speaker decided to start things off with a little review.  This would prove to be awkward for everyone in attendance.

And it was all my fault.

“What was our main point on Monday night?”

Hands shot up all over the place.

“Yes.  You way in the back, in the brown shirt.”

“Love God.”

“Good.  Very good.  And what about Tuesday night?  Anyone?”

Again, hundreds of eager hands popped up in the air.

“Okay.  You in the red dress.”

“Love others.”

“Excellent!”

Without giving it much thought, I told my friend Derrick that Doctrine of Integrity was the answer to the next question.  It wasn’t.  I just thought it would be funny to tell Derrick that it was.

My heart stopped when he raised his hand and the speaker called on him.

“Yes, you in the orange and blue shirt.”

“Doctrine of Integrity!”

Derrick seemed so proud to have the right answer.

“Excuse me?”

“Doctrine of…”

Derrick knew that he had been had but it was too late.  He was stuck.  He finished his answer with gibberish.

“What was that, son?”

“Forget it.”

It’s amazing that I was allowed to graduate from that school.  It’s even more amazing that Derrick kept being my friend.

A few years later Derrick and I were out with a bunch of friends.  When things started getting crazy, Derrick was the one that drove home with me, away from all of the drama, to watch TV.

When I found out that my mom died, I never asked Derrick to come to my house.  He didn’t let that or a ten hour drive stop him.  I’m glad.

When my firstborn son was about to be born, Derrick was at the hospital almost as fast as me and my wife.  When it was time for delivery, he was in the waiting room.  When the labor dragged on and things started to look bad, Derrick was still in the waiting room.  And he was there for the four minutes that nurses worked to get my newborn son to take his first breath.

My son made it out okay.  And a few years later, my second son came with a little less turbulence.  When they grow up, I hope that they have friends like my friend Derrick.

Friends they can laugh with.

Friends that will call them out when they are wrong.

Friends that are there for them.