I met Dominique (Dom) freshman year of college. He was an upper classman in pharmacy school, so I really did not know him other than “The Black Guy at Wesley.” He was friends with one of the guys I lived on the hall with freshman year, but I really did not know him.
I got to know him a little better sophomore year as my friend ended up living with him. I would hang out a lot at their house on the weekends, so Dom and I ran into each other more often and began to have conversations and develop a friendship.
This “friendship at a distance” continued until we actually decided to live together this year with a handful of other guys we were friends with. There are six of us living in a duplex: three on one side, three on the other. Dom lives on the other side of the duplex, and while living within six feet of each other should not be a barrier to never spending time together, it is still not the same as living under the same roof.
Regardless, having the opportunity to do life with Dom this past year has been one of the most blessed experience of my college career. Not to knock my current roommates or past roommates at all but Dom is a very special person to everyone he meets. There are a couple words the come to mind when I think of Dom.
First is intentional. There is a genuine spirit about him that he wants to pursue a relationship with you. He cares about you as an individual. You are not just another face or name; you are an unique person crafted by God. If you rub shoulders with him for long enough, you will begin to see this about him. Living with him, I get to see it on a day-to-day basis. I can walk into his room and he will stop whatever he is doing to have a conversation with me. Usually this happens three or four times a week, just so that we can stay caught up on what is going on in each other’s lives and what God is doing. He always makes it a point to ask me how I am doing and what life is looking like at the moment. It is one of the biggest blessings to have someone who will be intentional about investing in your life on such a consistent basis.
Second is silly. Dom will be the first to admit his silliness. Granted, he knows when to be serious, but when it is not one of those times, he can be one of the most funny guys to be around. He is really relaxed and laid back when it comes to friends. I know his life is structured deep down, but he loves to enjoy life and all the hilarity it brings–and he brings a lot of it. Everything from his genuine, fake laugh to the abbreviations he uses in every day conversation, Dom just brings joy to those around him in a refreshing way. I know this deep-seated joy just overflows from his love for Jesus, but his silliness just comes from his personality and his desire to love people. Regardless of how much time you spend with Dom, you will leave feeling refreshed and joyful because he just exudes that attribute of his Savior.
Third is encouragement. This goes hand in hand with the joy that he brings to people’s lives. Dom is a natural encourager. I cannot remember how many times we have had a conversation and he turns the conversation away from the negative and tries to look at it from a perspective that brings out the positive qualities. This is not just about people but in every arena. This means that this encouragement is rooted deep down in his heart and it is not something that is a surface level ploy to get people to like him. He genuinely wants to build people up in Jesus and love them where they are at. He sees the potential in people and wants to emphasize that rather than dwelling on the undesirable qualities. Sometimes, it is not even the content of the conversation. Sometimes, he just wants to pray over you and encourage you. Those moments are more special to me because he I know he is seeking the heart of the Father and wants what God wants for me.
Friends like Dom are rare and hard to find. People who selflessly give of themselves, their time, and their resources are a dime a dozen. So, if you have a friend who is intentionally investing into a relationship, let them know you are thankful for their time and return the favor as often as you can. If you have a friend who is just downright silly sometimes but it always brings a smile to your face and you always end up laughing until it hurts, let them know you are appreciative of the joy they bring to your life and how dull it would be without them. If you have a friend who just seems to have a knack for picking you up when you are down or inspiring you to think positively amidst a hard situation, let them know you are grateful for their perspective and how it pulls you through.
We all want to be surrounded by these kinds of people, but, above all else, I believe we need to be more like these kinds of people. So, you be more intentional. You be more silly. You be more encouraging. Be Dom for someone else.
Dominique, thank you for being a true friend. Thank you for always dropping what you are doing and being willing to have a conversation, even if only for a few minutes. Those few minutes mean the world to me. You have truly showed me what the joy of the Lord looks like in a person. I can really describe it no other way. The more I learn about who God created you to be, your heart for the nations, and your desire to see the name of Jesus lifted high, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that God has allowed our paths to cross even if only for a season. Be encouraged: with every passing day, I see more of the character of Jesus in your life in the way you walk what you preach, love others unconditionally, and seek the heart of God relentlessly. I am beyond blessed to call you a friend and a brother. Thank you for the lasting impact you have made in my life. I am a better follower of Jesus because of you.