We wraped the night, the forth vigil night out of six weekends in a row. I could only remember beign tired. And then my girlfriend conffirmed we should drive our leader home. The idea was to get an Uber, put her in and go to Mc Donald’s, but, we had an immense turn of events that day, and ended up going with her into her appartment. And as we got up there, her thirteen year-old son is awake at the couch. It was around 7am. That’s when it all started.
We went on talking about the night, the days before, the months ahead, and Danny made pudding, so we had it for breakfast. That was the moment it all cracked. After a while, our pastor was talking about discipleship for Danny, and how I was supposed to do it aside her husband. And then it happened. Attempting to get closer to him I proposed board games. Jackpot, we’ve chosen chess.
Now, I’m 25 and the last time I played chess I was younger than Danny is now, and I wasn’t any good. Chess has never been my favorite board game, neither my best. And that could not be more farther than where Danny stands on the matter. He adores chess, and even got a silver medal in school a couple months ago for his talents on this. So you might as well figure I did lost all three matches we played that day, and even the four matches we played the other day. And that’s where the story gets better.
After playing some chess we also played some dames before he went back to e-games as I went to groceries shopping with his dad. It was Father’s Day and pastor Joy decided we should all make him lunch. It was the best, the funniest, the sleepiest day we’ve ever lived.
And four days later we went back there for leadership meetings. Now, these are regular weekly meetings we have with our key staff team and our pastors. And Danny always stays at his bedroom playing his e-games as any thirteen-year-old would. But, not this time. Danny stayed at the living room, the same room we were in. He was playing his e-games, but eagerly waiting for a chance to do what he eventually did in the end: he asked me to play chess again. Now, our meeting went from 7:30 to 10:30pm, and he asked me nearly 10:30 if we could play, and in the middle time of the match, our people started saying goodbye. I have a ride to take, Danny looks at me and says “stay, sleep over, let’s play some more”. And just like that, I ran to the elevator to say good bye to my folks and went back to the apartment for another hour playing chess before he got asleep.
Another week after that we’re back there — always thurdays, always the same trio. This time when we got there to live stream a video Danny is not even back from school yet, but as soon as he gets home, the first thing he does is go to his bedroom for change. Now, I’ve spend my week eagerly awaiting for the moment of chess play, and even told my girlfriend how upset I would be if he did not ask me to play. And not the first, not the second, not the third, but the forth thing he did was ask me if I wanted to play. We played a match before live streaming, then during live stream he goes to his e-games again and then after Live we all eat a pizza and we both played twice.
Now, I want to proudly say he is really good at a game I’m just mediocre. He wins every time out of his own intelligence, but I’m getting better — I just went back on playing now after all these years. And I might be repeating myself too much, but I’m honestly saying this: we became friends from the chessboard lane.
It’s interesting how we got connected to people out of all kinds of ordinary simple things. Who’s to say that my approach technics would be irrelevant to this case. Real. I did not know what to do when my pastor passed me the ball to disciple the kid, and just realized after a while that maybe it’s just about being his friend. I remember talking to his father in the car after shopping for lunch the other sunday and he told me his only concern about Danny becoming a teenager was about having his and hers examples to be more important than what his so called friends could do.
So, jackpot, somehow I became his friend, the most different one. That because I’m not the League of Legends kind of friend, and he doesn’t have to pretend. We can be true to each other and as honest as possible play board games and talk about real things. I can be a friend who somehow, through the grace of that who made me son, can show him the same example that their parents do: Christlike example for life. Life is for living, living is Christ.
Then God spoke to me. Once I knew Danny trusted me, I waited. As suddenly as getting connected, we got closer. A fine morning, we could talk in person. And then God spoke to me about timing. He told me Danny was like a sunflower. You can barely notice when closed, but once the light shines on it, it blossom and opens to a beautiful symbol of summer time. Step by step, he will give you the confidence you need so you both can learn not only how to listen, but also how to speak up. Just wait another week. Maybe “missing you” could make sense now.
We’re growing on intimacy, commonality, faithfulness and stewarding a based relationship. That leads to trust and confidence. But that’s something that you need to build, right? It doesn’t grow by night. You plant the seed now to sow it after. And I’m trusting fiercely that when harvest comes we will be right at the point we were commanded to: I’ll be the old brother for my younger brother. Blessed is the one who’s the older brother to his younger brother.
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