Tonight I went to visit some of my friends who were finishing up leading at the Journey conference this week. I was a bit unsure of going because they had been together all week leading small groups. I entered with an uncertainty, wondering if the few hours of driving would offer me time with my friends that would be worthwhile.
As we began to gather I found a comfy chair and settled in. Soon there was Bob from Regina, Saskatchewan, Betty Lee from Texas, Wendy from California and Pat from Oregon. Sheila was there from Indiana and Jim and Pat from Florida. Bernie from Missouri, John and Mary Jane were there from South Haven, Valerie from Georgia and Russell from Texas. Chris and Janet and Paul and Maureen were there from Grand Rapids and Mark and Tracy and Curt and Amy from Kalamazoo and Plainwell. That isn’t even everyone, but I think you can see that the room was full with friends who gather once or twice a year…it is diverse and it is delightful!
You see, what I realize, within moments of being together, is that the room was filled with friends who I love deeply and who deeply love me. We may only see each other once or twice a year, but there is something that unites us…..
We all share a passion and commitment to Open Hearts Ministry which has trained small group leaders in 50 states and 30 countries….
We all share a passion and commitment to hear and respond to the stories that come as a result of living….stories of betrayal, stories of pain, stories of abuse, stories of relationships, stories of disappointment, stories of hope and stories of redemption. (and in that commitment, we have all shared and responded to one another’s stories)
I was quickly reminded by the hugs and hello’s, by the delight in my tattoo and the love and laughter that was being shared all around the room. There was a very alive energy that filled the room and in that, two hours on the road was very worthwhile. It was a very sweet evening filled with very sweet moments!
“Two may talk together under the same roof for many years, yet never really meet; and two others at first speech are old friends.”
– Mary Catherwood