We are on a trip back “home” – our original hometown at the beginning of our marriage. The place where we grew our family. This morning, we revisited our church home. It felt like walking into “home” the same love, warmth and grace just enfolded me as I stepped through the door. As I sat with my head bowed and eyes closed during prayer, I was transported back – I felt like I could open my eyes and our kids would be 15 years younger, sitting beside us in the pew. Like all the other kids would still be kids, and like some very dear friends would still be with us as we worshiped together.
We were joined at the campground by some very special friends from “back then”. They camped with us. Their three lovely daughters joined us and it was wonderful to appreciate the beautiful adults they have become. At church, we were delighted to meet another young man that was only about 2 when we left. We didn’t get to meet his brother, a little older, but still a child when we left. I have been fortunate to follow these and several other “kids” that grew up with our kids, thanks to social media. It is such a wonderful feeling – warm fuzzies if you are familiar with the term – to look at these young men and women today. As if they were our own children, we look at them with pride and amazement. Pride, not for ourselves, but for them – knowing that they are growing in faith and being faithful to God. Amazement, because of what they have and continue to accomplish; they are kind, compassionate, and just plain fun to watch grow up. Even though our kids are the same age, Bill and I are the “older” parents in the group. What a joy to see the parents of these young adults living such a solid example for their children. Family values, living in a Christ-centered home, community involvement, and service to others.
We have been fortunate to spend some extra time; share meals and fellowship, as we rekindle friendships. Although it doesn’t feel like rekindling – more like picking up where we left off – like it was yesterday instead of 14 years ago. We’ve even added an extra day to our visit so that we may add more friend visits. What an incredible blessing to have the luxury to be able to do this.
It’s a good thing to surround yourself with people that are joyful, positive, and inspirational. Circumstances may dictate physical separation from these people. The very best part? Realizing that you are only separated by physical distance and time. Learning that simply by closing the physical distance, you are still connected, still share the same joys.
This visit has also been a time to reconnect with family-another heart-warming joy. This new (for us) life-style continues to be a blessing beyond belief. We are cherishing the opportunity to celebrate friendships – old and new, celebrate family, and celebrate our time together.
I see this grace lesson as both a reminder and a challenge. A reminder of how precious people – not things – really are. The challenge? To make the conscious effort to keep in touch, get in touch, and stay in touch. Tell those special people how special they are in my life, and thank them. Also, to seek out and reconnect with other friends. Don’t wait, it’s too precious to put off…..