Dec 12, 2021 • 18M

"Dre" and "O"

Joel Barnes SHAREing
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I had a couple really cool conversations this week that I want to share. Warning. There will be some “bad” language in this one because this is basically a story about following Jesus IRL (as the kids say it. Lol. “In Real Life”)

I had a conversation with a friend this week. A newer friend made within the last 6 months. We’ll call him Dre. I was talking to him about how to create his brand. I was walking him through some good “next steps” and, to be honest, right now, he’s got a lot to learn from others in his marketplace. He’s at the starting blocks, which requires a lot of Research and Development (R&D).

I was explaining the value of studying others that are in the same space that he wants to go into. There’s so much value in avoiding the recreation of the wheel. It also helps you form a goal and create vision for what you want your brand to look like down the road.

I was talking to him about how long it’s taken for me to develop a clear and succinct mission statement for SHARE. It doesn’t sound like a hard task to write “teaching people to share their blessings and their bruises to connect with love and empathy” but every word in that mission statement has been examined and re-examined and reevaluated constantly … even as recently as when I just wrote it. Lol.


I felt myself getting fired up. I was talking to someone who wanted to listen… I was thinking through their development… I was reflecting on my own journey… I even went into this surreal moment where I described my current situation as the moments on the shore of the ocean where the water recedes in order to provide momentum for the next wave that crashes.

You ever think about that? The water that recedes from the shoreline becomes the energy for the coming wave. This is the season I’m in… except this season I’m a tsunami. The ground below the water shifted - my soul has been rocked like an earthquake - and the water is receding. Next, I come crashing inland  with the energy that’s been gathered during my recession.

That was a convo with Dre.

My other new friend, let’s call him O. O was annoyed that we couldn’t virtually hangout one day because he’s in the service industry and he had 2 tables walk in at 8:45 and they close at 9pm. It’s the worst… you are trying to go home, almost there, you can see the finish line… and then someone walks in “Are y’all still open?” Who knows about this? ✋🏽  Oh, I do! Lol. Happened to me a few times over a 20+ year service industry career. Lol.

Anyway. O and I were exchanging voice notes (because that’s what the younger generation does now… voice notes and FaceTimes. Lol) and he sent me THIS one.

**warning** this language might be offensive to you but really try to listen to what’s at the heart of what he says:

Lol. I freakin’ LOVE this voice note. I saved it immediately.

This is what is sounds like to be on the other side of my version of “Christianity”.

Yeah. We met playing video games. He lives in Cincinnati. Dre lives in Georgia. They are actually cousins and I’ve known them for 6 months or less.

I started playing video games more because it legitimately helps me manage the pain as a distraction. Honestly. Better than any opioid… a few games of Warzone gets my mind off of the pain for a bit.

I loaded into a game and these 2 guys were in a party playing… they sounded cool. We played some more. And it’s been a friendship that has continued to develop for about 6 months now.

And these are the convos we have. Lol.

These guys are 25/26. Have both served in the military and whether they share my beliefs or not… they listen… they are open to what others think/feel/believe.

I can’t help but to be encouraged by the generations to come.

I can’t help but be proud to hear someone talk about me this way. “He’s not a dick about what he believes.” Yo… that legit makes me laugh every time I hear it.

I can’t help but be blown away by the fact that I can talk with another alpha male about the tide of the ocean receding and then that momentum being transferred into a wave crashing on the beach …. as a metaphor.

What??? I made these friends playing video games?!

I’m just thankful. You know? And I just wanna write about it.

SHAREing makes you humble. I will say that. You can’t really create the hubris it takes to believe that you are better than someone because they are younger or a gamer or in a different season of life.

SHAREing makes you see the similarities in the common human story. It empowers you to be WITH people and FOR people because you can see yourself in their journey.

Another trusted friend SHAREd some weak moments with me this week. Another friend SHAREd a financial gift with me that helped to solve a specific problem I had. Another friend SHAREd with me the perspective of another religious leader and we had a powerful conversation that lead us back to scripture to find the answer.

I’m thankful. It’s been an abnormally quiet season for me socially… but the few that are near me, feel real good. They feel authentic. I don’t feel like I’ve had to compromise anything I believe in. The relationships feel challenging, supportive and gentle.

I’m thankful.

I want to close with a posture that I try to live from:


Many have heard this story. This is the “those of you without sin, cast the first stone” scripture. Here we see God basically say… if you are perfect, you can judge. If you are without mistakes, you can look down on others.

Ultimately, everyone dropped their rocks. Everyone walked away. No one is without their own mistakes. No one can judge another human.

I hope I get the opportunity to keep being DOWN with people and on their level. I hope I keep getting to meet awesome cats like Dre and O. They encourage me and restore my faith in the coming future. They have helped me in my own depression.

I love that Jesus sat down to teach. I love that he sat there and played in the dirt while all these religious leaders tried to trap him. I love that He stood UP and spoke with authority… and then sat down and kept writing in the dirt. That’s a God that’s WITH us and FOR us. That’s the example.

That’s what it’s all about…

Hey there! Thank you SO much for being on this journey with me…

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