My New Friend Bob
Updated: Mar 16, 2021
The Bible teaches, 'Nothing is impossible with God.' I like to share a story of my friendship with Bob, how trusting God has blessed my life with a new friend in an unlikely way for me through weekly phone calls.
Two important things happened in the US in 2020: the covid-19 pandemic and the presidential election. The pandemic has caused us to be increasingly isolated, and the election has exposed that our nation is deeply divided. They made us aware of our deep need for relationships and new ways of doing things in a chaotic and challenging situation.
Aware of my own needs and concerns for others, I decided to call many people I knew and asked them to meet with me virtually as much as possible during the pandemic. Why did I call people? Because I believed that God wanted us to love one another to meet our needs. The struggle we all still face today turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me. The initiative I took to call people blessed me with many new friends. One of them is Bob.
Bob is a spiritual man and an opinion leader. He is also a Trump supporter, and he has very different political views than me on many matters. I called Bob and shared with him my longing for friendship and my desire to seek understanding. He agreed to talk to me every week. I was so happy when Bob said YES.
As we met every week, I got to know Bob better. He is retired, works part-time, and is busy with volunteering and gardening. Bob enjoys talking to and helping people, a character trait that allowed him to speak to a strong-opinioned guy like me. We had many heart-engaging conversations. One of the most challenging and also rewarding conversations was about Trump. I asked Bob calmly why he supported Trump. The moment after I posed the question, I could sense the tension even over the phone. We argued a range of issues, from the government to the media, from the elected officials to the "fake" news. They were difficult conversations, and I can still remember my heart thumbing, our voices rising, and the temperature heating up. The comment like "Trump was a liar," "You cannot trust CNN," "I got my news from Rush Limbaugh." "I cannot stand FOX news." are still ringing in my head when I recall our conversations.
Fortunately for us, we remembered our meetings' goal was not winning the arguments but hearing each other out and seeking understanding. Instead of arguing until we both got angry and frustrated, we decided to slow down and take turns to express our thoughts and listen to each other intently. We did so because we care for each other and valued our relationship. We used our meeting as an opportunity to learn, practice kindness, and work together to resolve our differences and seek the common good. It made me see that even a Trump supporter can be my friend.
As our friendship grew and we both looked forward to meeting every week, our meeting was one of the highlights of my week. It allowed us to express and process our thoughts and feelings, allowed us to exchange ideas, learn to acknowledge and respect different views, and encourage each other to do good. We shared our family stories, various things we each are involved in, politics, religion, marriage, racial relationship, and travel. We prayed for each other, prayed for our families and friends, and our government and the world affairs.
I am grateful to God for my friend Bob because it gives me a sense of feeling someone cares for me besides my family. What made it unique was that Bob was the first person in my life who had a different political view, willing to listen to me intently. It also taught me that spending time together is one meaningful way to show someone you care and is vital to a lasting friendship.
The experience of Bob and I becoming friends is like a minor miracle to me. It increases my confidence that God always provides opportunities in challenging situations, and He can turn adversities into blessings. People from different backgrounds and political views can work together, perhaps even becoming friends, 'For nothing is impossible with God!'