Sarah and I would exchange ‘the look’. You know, the times when your eyes would meet, and you knew you were communicating beyond the surface. You knew, while the words might be the same, they were closer to the heart, closer to truth. Absent would be the odd but somehow necessary verbal dance around issues, Sarah and I could say what we meant.
Please understand the name Sarah is a pseudonym.
It was appealing to me how she and her family had it all together. Her two children, now young adults, are/were her pride and joy. She loved and guarded and raised them as a good mother would, with perhaps a leaning towards vigilance. Sarah told me how sometimes she would be waiting for her husband and would get butterflies the way she would wait for him for a date in their teens. Sarah’s husband, so young and strong, clear eyed, and clear headed. Gifted both physically and artistically, he had a great energy about him. In fact the whole family had a great energy about them.
Sarah and I worked together, and when we left our employer, we lost touch. Years passed, children grew, grandchildren were born, and Sarah became a pleasant memory. One day I found myself near her home and made a vow that I would reconnect with her. Several emails and phone calls then ensued, and finally we were able to meet at my home for coffee and a morning together. In the emails, I had been warned that there had been some “changes, not for the better”. Odd I thought, but I guess she felt she had to warn me.
It was not overly surprising that Sarah would look great, and our re-connection hug was warm and strong. Coffee was prepared, and the porch with its sun and gentle breezes beckoned. I believe it took all of two minutes, looking at each other, and thanking each other, before we were back as the friends we were. We of course, talked about the children in our lives, and in my case grandchildren.
We laughed and remembered, and then Sarah grew silent, and I knew the “changes, not for the better” had arrived. Sarah outlined a series of disasters, each more awful, each more cruel than the last. Suddenly I could see the years in her face, and the weight on her shoulders.I did not ask Sarah to my home to ambush her with my spiritual beliefs. I wanted to see her again, and perhaps then when the time was right, I could slowly begin to see if she was amenable to even the beginnings of ‘those types’ of discussions. Like most people who knew me before, a church would be a shock (after the laughter). The fear of course, would be that I had succumbed to being a ‘Jesus Freak’, and would want to put critical thinkers in prisons. All these thoughts circle in my head as she inhaled, brightened up, and seemed to shake off the years and reposition her shoulders.
“But you know what?” She said in her new-found energetic way. “For the last two years I’ve been going to this great church”! I consciously checked to see if my mouth had fallen open.
She then went on to tell me that I would enjoy it “especially the music, if I know you”. She said she felt I would be a person who might be inclined in that direction from things we had said over the years. She also said that it may help me with “the deeper questions, you know the ones you used to ask”!
About that time I felt a thousand things at once. I couldn’t imagine what had just happened in our conversation. Had I just been invited to go to church with an old friend whose life had not been going well? Further, had I been offered gentle help through God and her church? Incredible! And I was worried about an ambush?
We then had a long talk where she told me about finding God, and His help rather than the path to the liquor store. Sarah said that through her focusing on her work, and her church, she had been finding her way slowly. Some days were better than others of course, but all in all she was doing well. I was able to tell her about my spiritual journey and my church. We laughed and marveled at each others paths.
Our parting hug was somehow warmer and stronger than the greeting. Having a friend is such a privilege. A friend you can reconnect with as easily as I did with Sarah is a blessing. I pray we will stay in contact; her energy always makes me smile. As Sarah drove away, I found myself shaking my head.
Is it just my perception, or are large parts of my world turning to Jesus? Ted Thompson