Sunday, August 06, 2006

Beautiful August evening. Cool breeze blowing in the window. A group of teens are having a party next door. I can hear their laughter. Grandson just left, smooching my cheek and saying, "Good night, PopPop". And I begin a three week vacation tonight. Three weeks. Together. Back to back to back. It will be a new experience. I am blessed.

Haven't posted in a while. Very busy. Stressful and sad time. Friend Roy died. I met him in high school and our families became friends after we were both married and had our first daughters. We laughed, drank, ate, camped, fished, and celebrated together. Weddings and holidays and graduations. Over 40 years of conversations shared and cards played. We would get together only once or twice a year during the past couple of decades. It was like we were never apart. You know the kind of friendship I mean. The comfortable kind. Roy fought a short battle with a very aggressive cancer. Three weeks before his death we were at his son's wedding. Roy smiled, laughed, and joked. The morphine got him through the pain and his love for his family and friends took him the rest of the way. He danced with his wife that night. I'm grateful for that.

I have begun the process of saying goodbye to the people of the faith community that I have shared my life with these past twenty years. My departure is six months away but there is much work to be done. We've been meeting in small groups to talk about change. About the inevitability, sadness, excitement, and blessing that change brings to our lives. Stories are shared. Some are sad, others funny. Most were terrifying. We got through changes in the past and we will all get through this one. I know.

This summer I taught a 5 week course on St. Paul and his writings. Around twenty five people a week would gather on our back porch and we would read his 2,000 year old words. Honest words; words about conflict and pain and suffering and faith and hope. Words written to first century believers in the midst of change. Rejoice, Paul implores his readers over and over to Rejoice. No matter what the circumstances, Rejoice!

I begin a three week vacation this evening but that is not why I am rejoicing. My heart is filled with joy because their is a cool breeze blowing in the window, my grandson's kiss is still wet on my cheek, and I can hear the laughter of young people drifting across the yard. I rejoice because I was blessed with a friendship of over 40 years. Thank you, Roy.

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