Preplanned events have three stages:
For the past couple of weeks, Blest and I had been working to prepare the B2Y ranch for the annual visit of our friends from Minnesota. As the hours whizzed by last Monday and the duly appointed time of their arrival neared, the anticipation grew proportionately. The glances out the front window, the apparent sounds of a car driving up and the restlessness were all clear indications that the anticipation process was reaching its crescendo.
Sure enough, exactly when the GPS said they would get here, their little red car rounded the corn field and started down the driveway. For the next 30 seconds anticipation blended into realization as we stood on the porch waiting for the car to stop in front of the garage. In some respects there is no nicer feeling in life than those moments when anticipation and realization join hands.
After the appropriate welcoming gestures and the compulsory bringing in of items, the journey into the joy of realization started and continued unabated for the next 4 nights and 3 days. Through times of intense laughter and periods of tears the four of us enjoyed the full range of all that fellowship entails. We broke bread together and then broke more bread together. It seems as if we enjoyed enough food to last a few months.
One day we took a field trip to a local cave and enjoyed the majesty of God's great power. We spent hours talking about a particular Greek word as it is used by Paul in I Timothy. We spend hours upon hours discussing various subjects and issues on this site. We laughed together, we prayed together, we ate together and we played together. For four nights and three days we enjoyed and experienced what true Christian fellowship is all about which is more than anything else, living life together.
We went to no meetings, we did not go to any churches, we didn't go out witnessing, we didn't sing any hymns together and there were no sermons. Yet, we spent hour upon hour locked in the bond of unity found in Christian fellowship.
As it got to the time to retire last evening, the realization started its journey into memories. As Blest and her dear friend Â€ÂœKreynoldsÂ€ hugged and cried as they said their farewells, the momentary pain of the transition into memory became almost unbearable. The poet was surely correct when he said that parting is such sweet sorrow.
This morning as I said my farewells to my dear friends and I watched their little red car go down the driveway and disappear around the corn, I was left with that momentary feeling of sadness that comes when realization fades into memories.
Before I could settle into a Â€ÂœfunkÂ€ I was shaken back to reality when I opened an email from a local friend who said her husband's brother died suddenly last night. This came after a phone call yesterday telling us another friend's father had died suddenly yesterday.
It then struck me like a ton of bricks how fortunate we were to have had the time to say our farewells last night and this morning and thus allow the realization to memory process to flow like a creek into a river. Our two friends who lost loved ones never had that chance to say their farewells. They never had the opportunity to transition from realization into memory for it came abruptly and without warning.
I am still pondering the full ramifications of what I have learned this day, but I know they are profound. In one sense I am extremely thankful for the incredible joy when anticipation met realization and the deep contentment when realization faded into memory. But, I am also saddened in knowing that friends were deprived of the same experiences. All I can do is pray for them.
Never take anyone for granted for you never know when they might be gone in a heartbeat. When the process just finished with our two Minnesota friends ended in similar fashion last August, no one involved had an inkling that in December she would come within an instant of death. The thought never crossed our minds. That is why we must take advantage of every minute we have with each other and thank God daily for those nearest and dearest to our hearts.
Have you told your spouse, children, parents, brothers, sisters and friends how much you love them recently? Have you taken the time to spend a little quality time with those most important to you in this life recently? Perhaps we all should try a little harder to bury the hatchets, put away our hurt feelings, re arrange our priorities and take a few hours or days to soak up the anticipation and realization of sweet fellowship so as to have more and greater memories to last the rest of our lives.
Bravo! Wonderful blog :) I'm so glad you all had a good time. I'm sure everyone will be remembering your time together for many years to come!
B2y, can you miss someone before you have even met them? This day three weeks I shall be lying on a beach with Mrs jones, yet I am already dreading our goodbyes, even before we have said our hello's.
I'm so glad you and K had a wonderful time. I pray that you have many more of them.
Over the 4th of July weekend, I visited my brother and sister in law in northern Minnesota. One of the first things my brother told me was about a death in their congregation. He does much of the coordination for the holding of funerals in his church. While we were there, he got another call concerning the sudden death of another member of the congregation. He spent a good share of the time we were at his home making arrangements and working on the churches laptop preparing a display to be projected during the church service. It did end up to be a weekend of reflection on life and death. When my brother moved up north to a small home on a small lake, he told me that he expected he would live only another three to five years. He announced over the weekend, that he had now lived in this home 14 years. I believe with all my heart that God has been sustaining him. I believe his attitude of willingness and his devotion to serving God, his church, its congregation and his community is what keeps him going.
It is great that you had such a special time with some special CB friends from Minnesota. :-p
My husband and I had a lot of time to chat this past week as we have traveled through Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Illinois (again), Iowa, Missouri, Iowa (again) and then home. We have traveled over 2,000 miles since the evening of July 2nd, stopping for visits along the way. At times our conversation would turn to the events of last December. Yes, God has been good and it is very hard to take life for granted after all of that!
[quote]we must take advantage of every minute we have with each other and thank God daily for those nearest and dearest to our hearts.[/quote]
Amen for we never know when life will change in an instant! I am thankful for every opportunity I get to spend with those I love.