Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Thank You for Being a Friend

In a moment or two of spare time - such as that is for me at this station in life - I began to remember where I started out my walk with God, and how that all came about.  In large part this was prompted by a church membership application (my wife and I are joining the church we attend. . . Praise God!).  The simple question on the application is "When and how did you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord?"  I remember.  I remember all so very well. 

But I don't often have the opportunity to share those memories with those I know and love.  We get older, graduate from school, move away, find a job, and before you know it. . . you lose touch. 

This is the "magic" of Facebook: it reconnects you to those you remember - even those who have since married and now use their husband's name (who you might not even know at all) and allows you to "friend" them.  Reconnect with them and their lives.  Even after several decades of nonconnection and apparent silence.  Amazing technology at your keyboard's fingertips.  

I still have hanging in my house an old black and white photograph of my youth group performing as a handbell choir (five octaves) and vocal choir in our church's "Living Christmas Tree" program which was offered to the public free of charge at the regional shopping mall in the area, Plaza Camino Real in Carlsbad, California.  Always memories when I look at that photo, now framed in a simple wooden glass enclosed item which I found out after the fact may have ruined the photo.  The photograph is slightly too large for the frame!  I was told years ago I would have trouble getting it out of the frame, and to just simply leave it in.  I've done so.  

One of those friends from long ago was a tall blonde girl who was rather friendly and energetic, and was always good for a laugh.  I thought she was interested at the time in a certain blonde left handed bell choir member romantically, but I was wrong.  She married "out of the choir," but definitely inside that local church.  Solid catch from what I remember.  Solid family relations in that family, too.  Ones I never had in the way they did.  I secretly envied them back then.  What a neat family!  The dad oftentimes sang tenor solos before the sermon back in those days.  What a beautiful voice God gave him.  I enjoyed those solos very much, and still have a lot of music from that period rumbling around in my head.   

I found her (updated married) name on Facebook easily enough, and, upon being certain it was indeed her, pressed the "friend" button.  Not something I do everyday, especially to people I've not been in the company of for decades.  Worth a try.  "Up to you, God. . . " 

What do you know. . . in short order, she "friended" me back by accepting my friend request!  Wow. . . life, kids, grandkids, husband, boating. . . just wow.  That was very nice!  Nice to hear happy endings.  And the best part is from what I read, they all are still walking with God and keeping to that Pilgrim Way as I am doing as well. 

"OK," I say to myself.  "Let's see who she knows that I know" (or remember).  Wow upon wow. . . "Hey, there's that really zealous on fire guy with the funny wire glasses" (as I remembered him).  "Wonder if he remembers me?"

Sure enough. . . he did!  Pure wow!  And do I ever love what he said about the Internet and Facebook in particular: "Let's Redeem this thing called Facebook!"  Amen!  You got it, my friend.  Good to hear about your loved one making it through their medical situation and you staying steadfast with the Lord God.  Keep on sticking with Him. . . He is ever faithful and true. 

Bonus round: looking around again on his friend list, I came across the very one who invited me to church (not with her. . . not a date. . . just a friendly invite to be with others like herself).  This was immediately after I received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  Wow!  Pure unadulterated Joy at this. . . and Wow!  And hey. . . you haven't aged a bit.  You look as I remembered you.  The older photos of you back when we were in high school or shortly afterwards add a nice touch.  Don't lose 'em, you hear?  (wide grin)

OK, let's try this thing again.  I typed in a name one night.  Next morning, I was friended back!  He moved with his wife to Oregon. . . never would have known them to be there.  They look and sound great from what I see and read.  Amazing. . . and wow!

My heart is filled with gratitude at your kindnesses, folks.  Thank you for remembering. . . thank you for caring. . . thank you for praying for me when I was nothing much to be pleased about and a real "work in progress". . . and thank you for being a friend despite the disconnections over the decades in our lives.  You are loved. . . but most of all by God for your kindness and willingness to identify yourself with Him first, and myself second.  Thank you for being such upright, faithful, Godly friends. 

Now let's walk this Pilgrim trail together.  Not exactly as in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. . . but you get the picture.  Let's go!   

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