Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Make New Friends But Keep The Old

I had a wonderful opportunity over last weekend to go to the women’s retreat from our old church in Kansas City.  Putting it in perspective, we were part of that church family from 1993 to 1996.  When we moved there, Hannah was three.  She is now a twenty year old college junior.  I had not seen most of these women for thirteen years.  And it amazed me how quickly we were able to recognize each other and jump into conversation.  And on Sunday morning at breakfast, I met a church staff member who came to the church after we left Kansas City.  “You are the Wells?  That is why I am here.”  Our pastor in Iowa City knew we went there.  The networking threads of the Kingdom are often visible, always strong, and make me smile at God’s intricate design.

Driving on the way home that night on the pitch black two-lane roads of Arkansas, my experience over the weekend gave me strength and hope.  We are on the verge of moving again and on the verge of departing from our dear amazing friends here in Memphis.  And I realized that again it is not just saying goodbye, but see-you-later.  I was not much of a Girl Scout when I was young, but I remember a little song from my Brownie troop some fifty years ago, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”  As I drove over the Arkansas bridge and the Memphis skyline appeared, I thanked God for the awesome blessing He bestowed on us by letting us live here for six wonderful years.  I didn’t see it coming.  Bill, the girls, and I have been blessed by friendships in Memphis, deep, rich, and sweet.  These are the kind that just get better and better through the years, despite the distance between us.

Memphis friends, you are solid gold.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Old Photographs

As we are moving from Memphis to Chicago in two weeks, I have been going through many boxes of accumulated stuff.  And consequently, I have dredged up a lot of memories.  There were many photographs not only of our girls, but the ancient relatives.  The old faces of previous generations peer at us on faded sepia-toned paper.  These captured images are dear to us, not because these people were beautiful by the world’s standards of beauty, but because of our love for them and how they loved us.  Some of them had infirmities, like my grandmother’s almost fifty year battle with rheumatoid arthritis.  Her hands were knotted by swollen joints, and her knees were huge from inflammation, a prime candidate for replacement knee surgery that was not available at that time.  She shuffled, but she spoke often of dancing in the streets someday in heaven.

I have also thought a lot lately about transformation and what that means in this life and the next.  We see with our eyes the deformities, the infirmities, the handicaps of living in a fallen world.  But I am convinced that in eternity, we will recognize each other not by our bodies or our faces, but by what is imperishable.


And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the LORD, are being changed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another.  2 Corinthians 3.18