Last week I made an unexpected phone call to an old friend, and five days later, countless thousands of people had heard about the conversation.
If you didn’t read my blog post from last week, here’s the quick recap: In seventh grade, my friend Jeffrey Mitchell told on me, resulting in me getting detention. Although Jeffrey felt bad about it, I never knew it because I never spoke to him again.
When I told my daughters the story, they got upset and asked me to call Jeffrey and try to be friends with him again. After some pleading on their part, I actually went forward with it and found him with the help of Facebook. Despite my fear that our phone call would be totally awkward, it actually ended up being a touching conversation that ended in us making up after 25 years.
After I shared the story on my blog with Jeffrey’s permission, Fox News picked it up and ran it on their opinion page. The story ended up trending on Apple News and appearing all over social media. Some commenters reported that they wanted to reach out to old friends and try to mend relationships. One person actually reached out to me.
In the midst of all this, Jeffrey and I were texting back and forth, and he apologized again for telling on me. He said, “Josh, as I read your article, I started to tear up because I didn’t realize the domino effect it caused: detention, missing your bus, a spanking, and ultimately losing my friend. Thank you for listening to your daughters, calling, and being my friend.”
Domino effect? I thought. That was just the beginning of the domino effect.
Check these dominoes out:
- In 1992 in Petal, Mississippi, my friend Jeffrey Mitchell told on me, getting me into a lot of trouble.
- I never spoke to Jeffrey again.
- In 2016 in Washington, D.C., my daughters’ friends were unkind to them on the playground.
- I tried to teach my girls a life lesson by sharing the story of what happened to Jeffrey and me.
- The girls begged me to call Jeffrey and be friends again.
- I found Jeffrey with the help of Facebook and we mended our friendship after 25 years.
- I got inspired and wrote a blog post about what happened, and I encouraged people to give reconciliation a chance.
- Fox News noticed it and shared it with their massive audience.
- God only knows how it influenced those who read it.
When Scripture says that “all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord” (Romans 8:28), it really means all things — ridiculous things like seventh-grade spats and mean little kindergarteners on the playground. God wrings every bit of purpose out of every single detail of our lives, and He uses it to write a story about His lovingkindness.
I don’t know what kinds of dominoes have fallen and left you with heartache, but I do know this: God is bigger than the unfortunate domino effects in your life, and He can do better than simply undoing what’s happened. He can take all things — all things — and work them together to make something beautiful that will bless you and everyone else who loves Him.