Every now and then - when angels appear and grace abounds - we are continually graced by love. Every now and then - when we are blessed - we are re-gifted with the love that has been long holding us. Every now and then...
Yesterday I drove down to see my friend Mary Jean "Joan" in Macon. Her son, Steven was on Bradley's baseball team and they were scheduled to play the Mercer Bears. I got to the game after it had begun and my longtime (you'll notice, I'm not saying "old" here) friend came and found me. I was standing at the top of the bleacher stairs and she found me.
We figured out that it had been 22 or so years since we had last seen one another. So many years before we'd sat next to one another at Illinois State learning to be Music Therapists. She was also much smarter, and so kind and very, very funny. Most of my memories were of goofy things and lots of laughing. After graduation, we'd gone our own ways ~ she's married kind, Rich and they'd raised their family in the Chicago area. I'd eventually come to Atlanta for seminary, met kind, Linda and the two of us had likewise been raising our family.
Time had passed.
But every now and then when the angels appear...
Steve was not pitching the game yesterday. [He's resting his shoulder, and I look forward to hearing the good word from his next start with the Braves next week]. That meant that Joan and I could catch up (honestly, I can't remember how or why "Joan" became her name for me, but it stuck...). And we had a lot of catching up to do.
We'd both been raising families (theirs a daughter and son, ours two boys). So we talked and tried to shared highlights and struggles of those years; we'd listened to each other as we talked about disappointments and dreams for what's next. And we talked. And talked. The nine inning game played on and we cheered every good play, all the while listening with our hearts for how the other was doing.
And we were both OK. After all these years, and all that we'd lived in and through - we were both OK.
Harry Chapin sang a great song, I Let Time Go Lightly. A line from that song - "Old friends, they mean much more to me than my new friends. For they can see where you are, and they know where you've been..."
I couldn't help humming that song on my drive back from Macon to Atlanta yesterday. Joan and were "old friends" and we were good friends, dear friends, loving friends. We picked up right where we left off those long years ago at ISU. So much had changed for each of us - and nothing had. We looked at one another and saw teenagers. We listened for one another and we heard stories of life - birth and death, holding on and letting go.
Two old friends - catching up, watching a ballgame. If Steve had pitched the Braves to a victory, it would have been perfect. But as it was ~ it was good, so very good.
Working as a Hospice Chaplain, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.