11 years ago, I answered the call (definitely from above) to move to a small rural town to help the people start thier own small Christian school. I was a city girl, transported to the country, having to learn a new way of life. Some of the transition aspects were difficult for me to deal with (no shopping center nearby, everyone knowing your business, long drives from home to work), but the part about the experience that was the best was meeting new friends, who were and are my life-long partners as I walk down the long road of experiences.
Circumstances in life (lateMr.'s serious illness) made me move back to the big city. That meant that my wonderful friends that I met in Small Town, USA were farther away than would be feasible for me to see often. Thank heaven for computers, because that is how I have kept in touch with so many of them.
But every once in a while, God grants me the opportunity for a face to face visit with them. This summer has been full of opportunities, I returned to my cherished eye doctor several times for services from him, and I always manage to tack on a lunch with the gang to each visit. Luckily, the eye doctor wants to keep a close watch on my progress, so that means more trips and more lunches!
Even though I'm gone from my little adopted town for over 3 years now, every visit brings a meeting with someone, at the local Wal-Mart (some say it is the smallest in the US, but I could always find something to buy there!), at the filling station, walking down the street, at the eye doctor's office. I usually run into someone I've met while I lived there, and we open up deep and rich conversations that I cherish. These are people who I care deeply about, I am interested in their lives, and since I had a part in educating their children, I want to know how the kids are doing.
We (our friends in Small Town) had a tragic thing happen last May. One of the former students from our school was killed in a terrible auto accident. He was just 19, going on 20, driving his sweetie in his new convertible, and was broadsided by another car and killed. The death shook the community to the core, losing one so young and full of promise, and rallied the community around his parents and siblings in their shock and grief. That tragic event brought me down to Small Town several times, and even though we were together for a very sad occasion, it gave me a chance to see and speak to many, many of my friends. It was great time for making some re-connections.
And this past week, two of my best buds came to St. Louis to see my play that I costumed. They are my intrepid crew, they've been there for the final performance several times, helping me to pack up costumes to be taken home from the theatre. We are getting to be a regular team with it now, and got the big job done in record time after this performance. My one friend, who was my secretary and a great "data base" developer, suggested more than once that we make an inventory of costume elements, and made a data base on the inventory. She would be great at this, and it's too bad she doesn't live here to do that.
Another good friend, who is so great at photography, sent me many emailed pictures of her darling daughter, who is growing up so quickly into a beautiful young lady.
And then yesterday, a voice from the past, one of the original teachers I worked with at our school, came to St. Louis to pick up her son from the airport. Since his flight was due in at midnight, she needed someplace to hang out while waiting for him, thank goodness she picked my house! We had a great long chatty supper, then she visited for a while before going to the airport.
I remember the old song we used to sing at Girl Scout camp.
Make New Friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.
I consider these friendships to be golden, they have sustained me through many trials, and we have shared wonderful times together also. Thank heaven for weeks like this one, where good friends can reconnect and be together.