Lately, I have been particularly conscious of the preciousness of friendship. Over the past seven years, I have retired and moved to Peterborough. Letting go of the past and starting new relationships requires courage, patience and intention. For over forty years, my friend, Nancy, has been my anchor through this kind of upheaval. Although she lives far away, we have grown our friendship through letters, emails, phone calls and visits.
Because we have lived separated by great distance over the years, Nancy and I have both been intentional about maintaining and growing our friendship through all these different methods. We share our joy and reach out when troubles come. There is no greater gift than the peace and confidence that comes when we know we are loved just as we are, warts and all. With Nancy my mistakes, problems, grief, fun and celebrations are all accepted without judgment.
The writer of the Bible’s Psalm 139 claims God as his life-long friend. He tells us that God has loved us from our very beginning. There is nowhere we can go without God’s presence with us, God’s love surrounding us. My relationship with Nancy has taught me the reality of this Psalm. Within our friendship, I receive a taste of God’s eternal love.
Today I suggest that you give thanks for your friends. Tell them they are precious to you. Tell them of the goodness they bring to your life. In the same way, give thanks to God, who will never abandon you or throw you away. Rest in confidence as you walk your journey supported by your ever-loving God.
Jesus said, “If you, then…know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”(Matthew 7:11 NIV)
This past week we visited friends in Montreal and in Montpelier Vermont. On Thursday evening, we wended our way, to the Unadilla Theatre, nestled into the forested hills of rural Vermont.
Our friends’ daughter, Erin had one of the lead roles in the Mikado. The play was splendid, the acting excellent, the music superb. Knowing and loving one of the leads added a great deal to our joy. We finished the evening with Rob’s gourmet cheesecake while we continued the stimulating conversation that sparked interest and connected us as friends.
Friday morning after a scrumptious breakfast of waffles with Elaine’s blueberry and Vermont maple syrups, we started home. We meandered across country through the Adirondack Mountains on county roads and state highways. At Lake Champlain, God offered us another short cruise in preparation for our big “River Cruise” in August. We shared the ferry with a number of cars, a motorcycle and a 72 foot tractor trailer. Tom was trapped inside the car, since our parking slot was approx. five inches from the ship’s gunwale. We opened the sunroof. I stood on the seat so I could have half of me outside, and took pictures.
I wanted to ask the biker to take my picture with my upper half sticking out the roof, but found his bald head, bare muscular arms and tattoos too intimidating. Tom stuck his arm up through the sunroof to take this picture of me out on the deck.
Our journey brought us through Elizabethtown to Keene Village New York. Both towns are picturesque with lots of flowers. Like the Keene Village close to home, Keene, New York has a river running through it. Not having rain for quite some time, the Ausable River has become a trickling stream, roaming back and forth among the rocks.
The road wound through the mountains, around rocky outcrops, through the trees. Parked cars lining the road beside a finger lake signaled to us that this is a favorite area for bikers and hikers. We chose Lake Placid for lunch and found a fifties style diner. Tummies full we “shot the main” and followed 89 west, leaving the humming little tourist town behind.
The remainder of the trip home seemed uneventful even though we got a little confused due to the construction going through Tupper Lake. This gave me an excuse to stop for tea. While we were studying our map, a kind lady who pulled up beside us at the gas station carefully straightened us out and sent us on our way.
We stopped at the Trenton Enroute to eat our ‘snackin supper’ of veggies, dip, cheese and crackers. With gratitude we pulled into our driveway and unloaded the car just as the rain started. Before totally settling down for a cup of tea, I decided to text my daughter. My phone had disappeared. While Tom searched the car, he called my phone from his, hoping the ring would help the search. Angela from Trenton Enroute surprised him by answering. One of the custodians had turned in my phone. Sweet Tom, told Angela, “I’ll be there in about an hour.” I offered to accompany him. “No,” he replied. “I’m fine to go alone.”
Wisdom told me to agree with this. “I’ll finish unpacking and do the washing,” I said. The trip in the car must have given him opportunity to vent because he returned tired but not cranky around midnight. When I thanked him, he said, “I know you hate driving at night, especially in the rain. Thank you for letting me go by myself. I needed the time alone.” I smiled and gave him a hug. I am truly blessed with my wonderful Tom.
Please check out the Spirit Story in the May issue of the United Church Observer. My personal true story titled “Twice Blessed” has been published as the “Spirit Story” in the May issue of the United Church Observer. Please check it out. You can also read “Twice Blessed” on line at www.ucobserver.org/opinion/2015/05/spirit_story/ At that site you can click to hear me read the story as well. When you are finished please leave a comment. That helps both the magazine and me. Blessings to you all. Janet
Our week visiting friends in Montreal was a culinary delight. We devoured sweet corn drenched in butter. We sliced luscious peaches onto Nancy’s amazing cheesecake. The warm weather invited us to walk each day, giving our bodies the blessing of exercise.
The evening Nancy and Richard received news of the birth of their new granddaughter, our conversation centered around the blessings in our lives. This brought the question, “Why are some of us blessed so extravagantly while others go hungry?
We know that there is enough food produced to feed the world if it were distributed evenly. We know that there is more than enough love available to build a world of peace if we choose to live it. I believe we are blessed to share.
The next day, our daughter called to tell us she had finally found the home of her dreams and at a reasonable price. Excited and happy, she asked, “Am I being greedy to want this?”
My response to her was the same – We are blessed to share.
In the Montreal Gazette, I read a story titled “Gardens of Goodwill.” Last year Susan and Domenic Argento started donating the surplus fresh produce from their garden to the Old Brewery Mission that feeds seven hundred homeless people per day. They put out a collection box so their neighbours could do the same. This year their backyard initiative has grown into a project that involves neighbours, businesses and farms around Montreal. The Argentos not only share their blessings, but they help others do the same.
We can share easily and simply. Whether it’s our time, our money, our things or our caring, the opportunities are as abundant as our blessings. I suggest that this week you open your mind to sharing. Search out your opportunities to use your abundance to fill someone else’s need. Join God’s plan for our world.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)