The hugs and good-byes came finally at about 10pm...long-term friends departing after a time together that for all was a special gift. We had not been with them for years, and had not really stayed in touch too well, but they had called and said they would put us into their trip south. Could we share a meal?
We did...in fact two meals. And our time together was one of deep inner streams of life and love...with many moments of watery eyes and life-giving thoughts.
Times like this are special. Friends are a God-designed gift,adding dimensions to life that are irreplaceable.
So this morning, I reflect on some components that were in place yesterday, that opened wide doors for a wonderful time. Perhaps at this season you can plan for a time with some you are close to (or want to be close to) that might turn into one of the best moments of the season.
Component 1 - Time.
It is hard to build anything of quality on the fly. Friendship takes time, wonderful, generous chunks of time. Yesterday turned into 8 hours...not by plan, but because all were flexible about when it would end...and it just didn't seem to come to an end till then. 2 hours might have worked. But 30-60 minutes probably would not have. Quality interaction takes time.
Component 2 - Environment.
We met in our home, a quiet place of focus and privacy. A place where no one could invade in any way. Where we could all hear well...and linger as long as the Lord gave us leave. We sat in various places in the house, but always in a way that included everyone...close, often circled.
Component 3 - Questions.
We all had moments of asking and answering questions...but not a rote thing, a Spirit-led thing: how is your health? tell me how the children are really doing. are you doing ok with life-purpose? and how are you doing financially? What is God saying to you now? These questions elicited very thoughtful open-hearted responses, and replies with wisdom from those who listened.
Component 4 - Food.
We were scheduled to eat a great meal at the start - thanks Jackie!! - but our time lingered on to the point where we scrambled and ate again (thanks Jackie!!). In this we walked in the steps of our Lord, who ate with people all the time, and who instited a "meal" to be had with frequency as we gather. Eating brings us to one level, slows us down, and brings a delight to all. Eating is just plain neat!
Component 5 - Renewal.
As we talked, many spiritually enriching themes developed. At one point we put on a CD that got us powerfully into the presence of God, and the testimonies of others and their music swept us rather deeply into His presence. (First Love - available at ExplorationFilms.com - worth the investment!)
Component 6 - Prayer.
Before our time ended we prayed for one another in the context of what we now understood better about one another.
My hope, in writing this piece this morning, is that you might find ways in these days to welcome the friendship that sustains and enriches life.
Blessed by friends...