I talked with Jeanita, my oldest childhood friend, for 45 minutes while on my evening walk yesterday. This was after having dining with Connie and Kristi at San Jose’s where we shared conversation and laughter over fajitas and quesadillas. Connie had just spent a few days of fun and friendship in NMB, and Kristi and I enjoyed hearing about her time there. Oh, and earlier in the day I had lunch with Martha and Jim, a lunch over which we discussed stories from the Bible, teaching experiences, and our families. I particularly enjoyed Martha’s story about her father chasing her and some friends in his Volkswagen when he spied them going down a path she wasn’t supposed to. I don’t usually go out to eat that often…really I don’t. And I don’t have contact with so many friends all in one day. But since I had that good fortune yesterday, I was reminded for the millionth time of just how important our connections to other people are.
Before moving “back home” a few years ago, I was feeling a little anxious. Could I leave my pals in Conway and Myrtle Beach? Plus, I was leaving behind two of my young adult children. The fact that I’d have weekly visits with them didn’t help my angst very much. I was going back to the place where my life began, and yet all had changed. Both parents were deceased, and none of my siblings lived in the area. That’s my sibs and yours truly in the photo above (date is off by six years). High school friends had either left the community or had “moved on” in other ways. “Maybe I can join a book club,” I suggested to my husband. “Surely there must be someone there who’s like me.” His reply: “There’s no one like you.” Gotta love the guy!
Anyway, seven years have passed, and although I still miss my children and my old friends, I’ve survived. In fact, in some ways my life is much richer in that I have four grandchildren and dozens of new friends whose faces I hadn’t even imagined when I made the move. Plus, there’ s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my parents and grandparents and the effect that they had on my life and those of so many others. I get to see my old friends from time to time too. Just last weekend, I caught up with Dorothea at church in Conway and was excited to hear about her motorcycle and RV. I’m happy that she and Nook still enjoy each other’s company so much and that they’ll be able to see more of the world together. And then there are my cyber friends. Yesterday I learned that Hayden is back in TN and that Barlow has begun blogging again.
I’m reminded of the old song that says something like, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” I need them, and I’m feeling extremely blessed to have so many connections in the past, present, and future. Here’s a quote I borrowed from The Shack, this month’s book club selection: “You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” Frederick Buechner in Telling the Truth
Tomorrow promises to be a good day too. I get to have lunch with Paul in Columbia who’ll be in Columbia for a conference, and then DH and I are off to Myrtle Beach for dinner with friends and time with his family. Life is good, a fact for which I’m very grateful.