I'll never forget the Saturday he showed up at my door.
We went to school together, I knew who he was and all, but we had never actually talked before this.
Yup, you hit the nail on the head brother.
"I'm going out of town for awhile, and I was wondering if you'd want to take my paper route..."
It was that simple sentence that initiated my second longest friendship.
His name is Dustin.
Dustin is incredibly smart. He is also one of the most sincere and motivated guys that I know. He takes the things he loves very seriously which is why, I suspect, that he is destined for incredible things.
We went to elementary school together, so we've known each other since kindergarten really, but when Dustin actually took the initiative by asking me to take his paper route, I never imagined that we'd still be friends to this day.
It was after elementary school the bonding began, really...
We would walk to jazz band rehersals at the middle school together in the mornings (at 6 am!). Since we both played the trumpet it was assumed that we were, by nature, just plain awesome people.
In high school we both joined the marching band, which became the equivalent to a full time job for the next four years of our lives. We both took it upon ourselves to take a leadership role in the trumpet section in just our sophomore year. He always had my back, and we started to whip the youngens into shape.
During these years we all shifted between houses on the weekends. This weekend it was my house, that weekend it was Dustin's, the next it was my buddy Logan's place. We always hung out. We were pretty rowdy teenagers at that...
We would hang out in my parent's basement, burn incense, and listen to all the old school Metallica c.d.s. I'm talkin' Master of Puppets, And Justice For All, and Ride the Lighting, baby! The classics, you know?
We also played cool board games like Axis and Allies, and talked a lot about girls. A lot. The sheer amount of inside jokes we had escapes me at the moment, but I certainly couldn't account for all of them without a calculator and some scratch paper.
We even tried to form a band once...but since you aren't sampling our music on your iPod, and I'm not on a world tour, you can imagine how long that lasted.
The really cool thing about having friends who are just as dorky as you, is that you don't have to get mixed up in the stuff high schoolers don't need to be mixed up in.
I never felt the need to drink or party with Dustin. We were just dorky high school guys, and that was cool.
Dustin is a philosopher at heart, I think.
He has a very analytical mind, and he is able to see multiple viewpoints to an arguement, and formulate a rational conclusion from the evidence.
Because his mind works in this fashion, he has developed solid convictions, based in reason. This is especially true when it comes to his faith.
One of the coolest things about this guy, to me, was his genuine belief in God. As an agnostic, virtually an athiest, throughout high school this was something that downright inspired me. While I thought it was a load of crap, Dustin patiently showed me that intelligent, sincere people could believe in this faith.
He helped me to see that it wasn't just the crazies who blow up abortion clinics, or tell gay people they're going to hell that believe in Jesus. In fact, when he talked about Christianity, and the God he believed in, it became apparent that those people who I had garnered immense frustration with, were actually missing the whole point of the Christian faith.
I think that this played an enormous role in changing many of my pre-concieved notions about Christianity.
It wasn't an instantaneous thing. It happened over time. One conversation at a time. It's amazing how much influence you can have upon someone, and never actually know it.
But the story didn't end in high school...
Dustin now serves with the in the Air Force as a Wing Commander. He commands about 80-100 men, and they couldn't be in better hands, in my opinion.
I also had the privilege of standing by him as best man, as he married another great friend of mine from our high school years, Taylor. It was a fantastic experience, and made me feel thoroughly old and grown up. :)
There is so much that I could write about this guy, but you'll just have to take my word for it. He is one of the best friends any guy could ask for. I'm just lucky 'cause I didn't even have to ask. :)