Pastor’s Corner August 2017
Pastor’s Corner: August 2017
Pud and Dale were our neighbors in Wayland, Iowa, living across the street. They were “grandparents” to our children, whose biological grandparents lived a six hour drive east. They were our “parents.” They attended Sugar Creek Mennonite. I was their pastor. They were actively retired. Dale shared things from his garden with us. Pud offered Idella flowers that became bouquets for both of them. Together Dale and I shoveled snow off our driveways.
Pud and Dale aged. They moved to a nursing home in Cedar Falls, to be closer to a daughter. No more: gardening, growing flowers or shoveling driveways. Both have slowed some, physically and cognitively.
Carly was in second grade. Carly was my soul-mate, though she didn’t know it, one night at a basketball game. I was the loneliest person in the building, the only one aware of my approaching pastoral resignation and plans to exit Iowa. At halftime, Carly found me. I bought her a bag of Skittles. She plunked down beside me munching them, her head tilted against my shoulder, swinging her feet, her hand resting on my leg. Carly didn’t say anything. Nor did I. But her serene physical presence expressed: grace, the presence of Jesus, that all would be well. Somehow.
Carly graduated from highschool, then college, then college again. She’s all grown up now, employed at Hesston College. She met a man there. Carly is getting married this weekend.
I have said: “Relationships are the most important thing in life, the one we have with Jesus, the one we have with others.” The relationships noted above compel us to be in Iowa this weekend, leaving early Saturday morning to visit Pud and Dale, then driving south to Wayland for Carly’s wedding. Friends like these rinse my soul with grace, remind me of Jesus, amplify the power of love.
Summer is often the time for renewing friendships. Is there someone you need to reconnect with, a person who has been a shape-shifter and role-bender in your life? Has someone in your past extended the grace and presence of Jesus to you? Jesus called twelve, was close to three of them. Relationships mattered to Jesus. A lot. He provides a template that defines the importance of close friends. If this Pastor’s Corner brings an important friendship to mind, consider sending a letter or email, visiting or making a phone call.
There is nothing in life more important than relationships, which pulls Idella and me back to NM. We return on Monday.