This has been such an interesting week with many different life events occurring for our friends.
We were sad to say goodbye to a dear friend who died and moved on to his heavenly home.
We have friends who celebrated their anniversary this week.
We celebrated a 60th birthday with a friend last night which was a joyous night out with dinner and a barbershop quartet arriving to serenade the birthday boy.
This morning was the best of all! We witnessed a full immersion baptism of our friend in the lake at our local park. It was beautiful to witness.Temps were warm and so was the water. Music flowed (“Down by the River to pray”….”Amazing Grace”). It was wonderful. I have never witnessed a full immersion baptism before and it was a lovely spiritual experience. Our church family and friends were all there to eat, pray, commune with one another, and celebrate this blessed event. My heart was full!
The older I get, the more I realize how important it is to bloom where ever it is you find yourself planted. I grew up in an area where we were surrounded by extended family, consisting of many Aunts and Uncles and “cousins-cousins by the dozens” which was an apt description of my childhood. As a result, this childhood built the foundation of my life here on earth which was all about loving your family.
As time passed by, life events took over and my life began the first of my many moves. Most of my moves were the result of someone else’s life decision. First was my Mother’s decision to leave an unsustainable situation. This was followed by my own decision to move for college. After this, many more moves followed. Eventually, I married a successful businessman and also followed him in his many career moves. These moves took me ever further away from my place of origin.
There were times when I would “pine” for the past simple life where I was once surrounded by extended family but this was not meant to be. Even our children are spread out like so many seeds in the wind.
Today, as I sat next to my 83 year old friend (stand in Mother) and visited with her along with several other friends of various ages, I felt this gratifying and familiar sense of belonging. Suddenly it occurred to me that what I was feeling was the same kind of joy and acceptance that comes from spending time with your family. Now, to be clear, I was not related to these people by blood. But, I WAS connected by something possibly even more powerful than that. I was connected by a mutual love and respect that comes from a solid and good friendship! Friends really ARE our “chosen” family, and I love these people just as if they are my children, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles!
In the space of one week, we celebrated life in the form of a sweet goodbye to a friend whose life was well lived and with gratitude for the opportunity to walk this walk at the same time as he did, and the blessing of knowing him along the way.
We made note of a wedding anniversary of vows being exchanged at a wedding 8 years ago which we attended and now marveled how quickly the time has passed.
We celebrated our friends birth 60 years ago and felt thankful for being included in being a part of his special day!
Finally, we celebrated life while witnessing a full immersion baptism, which neither of us have ever seen first hand! It was incredibly beautiful!
The bible encourages us to “Love your neighbor as yourself”….this means everyone….because love is always the best choice, the only choice. Blood does not necessarily make you family, but loves surely does!