Monday, July 25, 2005

Blast From The Past

Had a nice visit this weekend with Steve Clouse, the music director at Goshen (IN) First UMC, a former fellow staff person, and good friend. Steve graciously accepted an invitation of mine to come and see the house, visit our church, and sing a ditty or two at worship on Sunday. As an added treat, Steve brought his daughter Emma over to visit the boys, who enjoyed their time with her immensely.

This was really about the first time Steve and I had gotten together since we moved a little over a year ago. We spent most of our time just talking about life, God, family, and pretty much everything else under the sun. He shared with me all of the changes that have been taking place over at First since we left. I spent my time getting him acquainted with our new life. And, of course, we had a good time remembering all of the good times, of which there were many. He has a hard time getting used to seeing me without long hair, but outside of that, we pretty much just picked up where we left off. All in all, it was a great weekend, and a nice moment of grace in the middle of the summer.

It's tough when you leave, or lose, people who were a regular part of your life. It's hard to remember that the time you had with them was really a gift for God in the form of a moment in time that will never be fully recaptured. I mean, even though we returned to Shawnee after an eight year absence, while we were able reconnect with some old friends, the "Version 1.0" experience we had here can't ever be re-lived, or experienced again. Too many good people have passed or moved on, and, quite frankly, we've changed a lot too. "V2.0" is good, but not the same, and that's just life.

So, I have arrived at the conclusion that there will always be open holes in my soul that will never fully close, which has led me to two more conclusions:

1) Treat your relationships as gifts of God that tangibly, and intangibly, priceless. Maybe if we could remember this as we live together, the moments would be sweeter, the patience would last a little longer, and we'd understand just how good God really is. One of ourGoshen neighbors, Rolo Ortiz, helped me learn the importance of this around a fire ring on many a late night. "Buke", he'd say, "we'll never get this moment back again, so enjoy it". He said that enough times that I began to believe him, and now, as the opporunities for gathering with our beloved neighbors from Yorktown Drive have all but dried up, I have an ever greater sense of just how special those times under the stars truly were.

And 2), I look forward very much to someday being reunited with, and meeting for the first time, countless souls in the hereafter. I don't know, exactly, what heaven will be like, but I am convinced that it will be the full realization of true relationship with God and with others that will make the experience paradise.

Not golden streets, or mansions, or bright lights at the end of a tunnel, but endless time for good relationship, will make heaven a sweet, sweet experience, indeed. That's what I believe, and I'm sticking to it.

Until next time, God Bless,