Saturday, July 29, 2017

Living OUR Dream

A couple of days ago, I happened to notice on Facebook that a long-lost school friend from Florida and her husband were passing through Nebraska in their camper. We hurriedly made plans to meet the next day at a truck stop, just off the Interstate.

It was a bit unnerving, since we hadn't seen each other in person for almost fifty years! But my nerves calmed down when Cindi saw me, watching for their arrival through the truck stop restaurant window, and waved excitedly to me as soon as they pulled up to the gas pump. We immediately got a warm hug from each other and then enjoyed a leisurely, chatty lunch, catching up on our lives, but mostly reminiscing about our junior and high school days.

For me, there was a touch of sadness though, mostly in anticipation of our meeting, because I would be facing it without my husband. It just didn't seem natural or fair to share an event like this without him by my side (he's been in a long-term care facility for almost a year now). When Dean and I were young, we had often talked about spending our retirement traveling across the country like my friends were doing. I wasn't sure just how it would feel to see them "living our dream".

But as Cindi shared some of their own life disappointments, my unsettling thoughts were totally forgotten. God has a different path for each of us. It's designed just for us, not to make life difficult or messy as it sometimes is, but to make sure that we stay connected with Him.

After fifty years, I still felt a connection with Cindi. It was almost like yesterday that we sat on the grounds of our junior high school, eating our lunch, and trying to figure out how to navigate the perplexing world of seventh-grade education. I was not used to my sister's absence (she was a grade behind me), so Cindi's friendship that year helped me fill the gap and survive what would have been a very lonely time indeed.

Amazingly, Cindi has done it again, by breezing in to help me survive another time in my life that I feel totally disconnected with someone who I have come to depend on, maybe a bit too much. What a merciful God we have to give us friends, who know just when to show up and know just how to cheer us up.

So good to see you again, Cindi (on the right). It was like we'd never been apart!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Close Encounters

Yesterday was a terrific day at Waverly Care Center for Dean. I was able to persuade a friend of ours, Bill Fitts, to come and share his singing and guitar-playing with the folks there. I didn't realize he would be coming the exact time I was coming to visit Dean this week! So I got to sit in on his wonderful concert of songs from the 60s and 70s, everything from hymns to country to patriotic songs.

The residents loved it, and especially Dean, who, of course, loved seeing the familiar face of a friend, along with hearing the memory-laden, repertoire of songs that he brought with him to perform. Best of all, after the concert, Bill joined Dean and I in the dining room for a daily afternoon treat of ice cream.

Sharing ice cream with Bill illustrated to me the close way Jesus wants to communicate His love with us. Jesus not only put on a great show on His resurrection morning, but He followed it up with face-to-face quality time with His friends in the upper room.

I hope Bill doesn't feel uncomfortable with my analogy here. It just reminds me how intimate God wants to be with each and every one of His friends on this earth (which often feels just as much of a "prison" as the care center feels to those who live there). God takes all the individual, personal time He has (which is, of course, infinite) to make sure we all feel as comforted and encouraged as we can possibly be.

Thank you, God, for your unfailing, loving presence in our lives!

And thanks to you too, Bill!