Remembering my Friend, Bob Rose

Facebook has made our world a bit smaller, and old friends easy to keep up with. I was reminded of it when I read Sonja’s post about my friend Bob being in a medically induced coma. Simply seeing his name caused 35 years to pass quickly. As I spoke with Sonja after his death, she asked if I would write some of my memories of our times together.

Bob was one of the many people I counted as a friend during my years at Kim. We both enjoyed guns, hunting and trapping, along with community involvement.

One of my favorite memories was a time when Bob called me, wanting help in “identifying” an animal he caught in a Victor #2 coil trap. Bob usually caught coyotes, but he was hoping for, as we all were, to catch a more valuable bobcat. I drove out from the church house to Bob and Brenda’s to see what I would find. Once there, the end gate on his pickup was up, but the biggest paw I had ever seen was flopped over the edge of the end gate. I remember his eyes shining and he was almost jumping up and down, as I peered over the side of the pickup at this large mountain lion.

Somehow, he had caught a cat by the toes in a trap that should have had the jaws ripped out of it. We spent the next two or three hours trying to figure out how that cat stayed in the trap. All we could figure out was that she jumped straight up, pulling the rebar stake half out of the ground, then lunged away, bending it in half. The cat tore up lots of ground under the tree, but was never able to get a good pull to free itself.  He got to be the champion trapper that year.

When Janet and I went out to see the mounted cat, we had our oldest son, CW, with us. He was only a few months old. CW had this terrifying habit of holding his breath whenever he was hurt or scared. He would just stop breathing, go rigid, then pass out and start breathing again. One of the first times that he did it was at Bob and Brenda’s that night, looking at the cat.

Bob and I had lots of conversations over the years. Along with Gary Campion, we worked on bringing Emergency Medical Care to Kim, driving back and forth to Springfield, taking the EMT classes together. We worked on fire department projects, and all manner of small things that fade from memory over time.

What I suspicion that Bob will be remembered for is his emphasis on community involvement. As a deputy, on the fire department, with the emergency crew, he was always quick to lend a hand. Bob was approachable, dependable, and gracious.

Any time I am asked to write something about a person who has passed from this life, I reflect over all of Scripture to pick out something that personifies their life. With Bob, I immediately thought of a statement made about Jesus. Peter said of him, “He was a man who went about doing good.” Acts 10:38. If I can live my life in a manner that others will say of me, “He was a man who went about doing good”, then I will have lived well. When I knew Bob, I would say, “He did well by others.

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Voices in the Crowd

There is a story told of Jesus, perhaps you remember Matthew’s retelling of it? Jesus had stopped a flow of blood in a woman who had been suffering for 15 years, along with raising a young girl from the dead. As he continued on his way two blind men struggled along with the group that followed after him. They cried out for mercy, as Jesus found his lodging.

After Jesus stopped at a house, these blind men caught up to him. They continued to prevail upon him to change their circumstances. The text says that Jesus asked them a question, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

When they affirmed their belief he complied with their request and they had their sight restored. (Matthew 9:27-31)

Can you imagine the fumbling, stumbling journey of two blind men being carried along with a crowd following Jesus? Being pressed on every hand, pushed, shoved, tripped and stumbling, the path to Jesus could not have been easy. Their voices mingling with all of the other appeals for help, straining trying to hear where Jesus was so they could project their cries in the proper direction, it would not have been simple.

After the crowd dispersed as Jesus entered a house, disappearing from sight, the blind men stumble onto the door.

Many lessons can be drawn from this story, and I’ve considered some of them here before. Today I want to contemplate another question, perhaps one of the most important ones.

Is it possible that the reason that we don’t bring more before God in prayer is because we don’t believe that he can do anything? The blind men, with a sense of urgency and determination, doggedly followed Jesus until they caught up. There was something that they believed only he could change. They wanted it.

What have you taken before God with such passion? This is no “Now I lay me down to sleep” kind of conversation. These are the words that arise from despair and hopelessness. Your prayers, do you believe?


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Sidney, TX

It is a little town like any other little town, but unlike all others in another way. Sidney is a small community in Comanche County Texas, my family home. While my father, like most young men of his generation, left the family ranch and farm community for college, he soon was carried much farther away by the Second World War. Serving his time in the Pacific Theater, he was never to return to Sidney to live, even though he always planned to do so. Answering the call of a young president to go to the moon in this generation, he, along with his aerospace engineer peers, dreamed larger dreams than a small community could hold. But at every break, whenever time could be made, Sidney was the longing.

Because my grandparents were there and because Santa delivered to Sidney the Saturday before Christmas, along with all reunions that were in Sidney, and summers spent there, I had names that were familiar to me, but seemed strange to the ears of others. Uncle Ottie, Aunt Gussie, Uncle Bige, Uncle Eldon, Miss McIntyre, the Caffeys, the Cheathams and many others that I’ve forgotten. A little boy’s memory fades over time, but my childhood was shaped by them. L.D. Cox, J.A. Cox, Jack Ferrill were men who were my father’s peers and my childhood heroes.

Perhaps it was this boyhood dream that was passed on to me, but Sidney somehow became my hometown as well. I spent summers on the Feril place, living with my grandparents and their remaining daughter, Carolyn Feril Lockridge, 12 years my senior. I became a living baby doll that she carried from place to place or pushed in the tire swing as I begged that she “run under”.

Before I began my school years in Grand Prairie, when I would be home in Sidney, I would be allowed to attend high school alongside Aunt Carolyn and her best friend Paula Cheatham Kiser, including my little brother, Steve. I can’t really imagine a school that allowed two preschool children to sit in chairs beside these high school girls, coloring and practicing their “letters”. Feril boys were not known for being especially quiet or well behaved, and we were surely a distraction.

Being allowed to go to the Sidney store was a rare treat in my youth. My grandad, Ormal Feril, would rarely allow me to buy a chocolate pop from the chest type pop machine in the store, with the tracks that one had to maneuver the bottles around and finally position the proper one to pull up through the “gate”. It was an especially fond memory, along with older men playing dominoes outside, and the community spirit that was welcoming and comfortable. I always felt at home, while being introduced as “Little Carlton Feril, Carlton’s boy.” The others would knowingly nod and I felt accepted.

Almost all of the names are gone now. Aunt Carolyn passing word to me today that Paula Cheatham Kiser faces a battle with cancer that looks quite grim. Each time I reflect back, my eyes close and I remember a little store with gas pumps out front, a grey painted wooden floor and shelves stacked high with treasures. The feed store next door looks far larger in my memories than the photos that I’ve seen of it.

As these names fade in memory, as their acts of kindness, compassion, and tenderness are lost in history, it is the influence that remains. The smiles, the nods, the index finger waving, acknowledging the approaching car over the steering wheel… the small acts of consideration that reveal the nature of a community. Sidney remains a treasured place in my memory because of these things.

Where you are from contributes to who you become. Where are you from?

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Living Like It Is Real

Using the Modern English Version (MEV), Paul makes this statement to the people of his day, “Furthermore, knowing the time, now is the moment to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore, let us take off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:11-12 MEV)

I find that inspiring to read. Paul says, “Its time people!” Time for us to really recognize where we are and what we are about. It is time to see the battle is won, forget the filth of the earth, the hopelessness of the old ways… the potential for tomorrow is here. The new heaven and the new earth are on the brink of appearing, and we are closer than we have ever been. Don’t waste any more time, don’t buy in to any more distractions. Focus on the prize, get your mind where it needs to be.

Time for us to throw off the garments that shackle us to the old ways and see the day for what it is. Salvation is at hand. Not someday, not one of these days, not way off in the future… we aren’t living life for “eventually” we are living, planning, and thriving in this world.

It doesn’t mean that we won’t struggle, but now we recognize that we struggle with a purpose. We may lament the shortcomings that surround us, physical restrictions, lower energy levels or declining health, but those things no longer hold us back. They are a part of the “night that is far spent”, the time when Satan appeared to be winning.

We announce his defeat, we revel with Jesus as we proclaim the resurrection. It isn’t some far off in the sky thing that we long for, we instead see that we perched on the cusp of victory.

So we throw off the old, put on the new and move forward with conviction. Our eyes, our focus is what is before us, the new day. With Paul, we are over looking back, we see the new day at hand.

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Hope for a Broken World

As Tom and I processed the next few weeks, we were working out our timing so each of us would have holiday time with our families. He and Pam are gone to Kansas City this weekend for their Christmas there, Janet and I leave after services here to pick up her aunt in Oklahoma before spending time with her family in Lubbock.

Tom said, “It looks like you might be really short on Sunday. A lot of people will be traveling this weekend.”

That is often the case around the holiday time. Families coming in and out, efforts made to prioritize the relationships. For many this is a joyous time of the year.

No doubt, for some Christmas time is a sad time, another Blue Christmas. Some will push through a holiday as others celebrate, but the grief of loss is too great for them. For others it will be the painful memories of times when family was not a safe place and gatherings like these refresh the pain and renew the injuries. For still more it is a reminder of loneliness or estrangement, rather than family or celebration.

It seems our world revolves around such dichotomies. Celebration and grief, joy and sorrow, or happiness and anguish. It reminds me of the brokenness of this life. Designed by a God who called it very good, sin has ravaged our planet spreading ruin and despair.

Thousands of years ago God came, not insulated by powerful angels with flaming swords on a fire breathing steed to slay evil. He did not arrive into a family with all the advantages of wealth, power and influence.

No, God came in the most vulnerable of positions, born to the ordinary, into a community of the average, in the midst of the plainest of circumstances. Jesus, God with us, entered the world in an out of the way place, in humble circumstances. No doubt the host of heaven peered over the observation wall, noses pressed to the glass, in wonder of what was to come.

His mother, a young girl of tender age was not spared the trauma of birth. His father would have acutely felt the burden of caring for a new son, with the additional responsibility of knowing it was God’s son. But no golden ticket was given the family, the way would be filled with Herods, Pilates, and the opposition.

The joy of his birth juxtaposed against the reality of the cross. It seems the brokenness would only be repaired by a God who could be vulnerable. That is the Good News.

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Christmas in Sidney

Well, it is an established fact that the world is so large that Santa can’t get to every little town in the world on a single night. With some delicate negotiations, arrangements were made for Santa Claus to arrive in Sidney, TX on the Saturday, the weekend before Christmas. For the Feril cousins, it could not have worked out better because it just so happened that this was the time that we could all make it home to Sidney on that same weekend.

In the corner of the room, away from the fireplace, a wonderfully decorated cedar

Christmas tree would be positioned, with the “weak” side to the corner where it would not be noticed. Lots of decorations, the big colored bulbs that burned you if  you touched them. Perhaps a popcorn string in the branches, children’s artwork, and tinsel… we were strong on tinsel. The tree could be clearly seen from window beside it from the outside if we arrived for the weekend after dark. It was that same window to which multiple tiny noses would be pressed when it was announced that Uncle Travis had just seen Santa’s sleigh crossing over the house. Due to the crowding at the frosty window, we were usually just a bit late to see it disappear over Round Mountain.

There were the standard presents, new pajama’s, a shirt and always socks or underwear. At 5-7 years old it was difficult to smile and act excited over underwear when a pocket knife or a toy gun was the real dream. Soon there would be the excitement of the toys. Adults were in kitchen chairs, hassocks, the couch or standing behind others ringing the outer walls. Children were in the middle of the floor, wrapping paper and ribbon encircling each one. Until the time for the Rabbit Dance was upon us. It was a rare and special time.

Parents played 42, a bridge like game using dominoes. The Feril men were fiercely competitive, analyzing each play and the implications for what was not played and why. By the second play everyone knew what everyone else had in their hand. Later, as chores were being done, some of the men might pair off to play straight dominoes. Some of the aunts played, although the mysteries of what was being prepared in the little kitchen seemed to hold them in that area more. Often they were gathered around the kitchen table making fudge, divinity, or some other specialty. Children were outside or upstairs, playing and telling their stories. Being the oldest of the plethora of cousins, I loved to tell stories about ghosts, or the Man With the Golden Arm.

Finally, we would be taken up the near vertical stairs to the great double beds. The mattresses were so soft that the covers threatened to swallow us up, and sheets so cold that the first 10 minutes you lay shivering under the mounds of quilts. We were always told not to get up anymore, but the truth is that with 40 pounds of quilts pinning you to the bed none of the boys would be getting up. I remember waking up a number of mornings to the hem of the sheet being frozen to the window.

Going downstairs, with Grandad lighting the propane stove, the fire place roaring and Grandmother backed up in front of it warming her legs under her housecoat… these are among my favorite recollections.

There would be chicken soup, a couple of the hens having given their lives for the main dish. Grandmother was really going all out when she added smoked oysters to the soup. They were black, chewy and distasteful, something akin to a black rubber band. I would finally give up and push it to the side of the plate.

Meals were taken in shifts, men, then children, then women. All were welcome at the table, but one took their turn. We played and wrestled and rode horses with all our cousins. Renewing relationships that always seemed deep but were very limited due to distance. The memories flood my mind as I sit to write.

Later, we would be taken from ranch house to ranch house, being shown off, having grown so much from the last year that our extended family could hardly recognize us. We could usually be recognized as the Feril’s from Colorado, or Michigan… wherever we were that year. We were usually in that blue Rambler American station wagon. When the car stopped, the doors exploded open and boys went everywhere, escaping their long confinement.

I am not sure where you will spend Christmas, or even the day that you will be with family to celebrate. If you ever get the chance, the weekend before Christmas, on that Saturday night… you might want to wander by the old Feril place outside of Sidney. On that night, the voices still linger in the air, echoing across the generations. If you happen to look very carefully to the starry sky, it is just possible that you will catch a glimpse of a sleigh just cresting Round Mountain before disappearing over the horizon. If you do, if you happen to see it… you will never be the same.

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Goodbye To My Brother

Since I began preaching, I’ve been telling stories as a method of relating points from the story of Jesus. Sometimes a bit of foolishness, other times something poignant, but always I’ve used illustrations from my youth. Over time, many of the stories revolved around a caricature of my youngest brother, Fred. In the stories I refer to “My Dumb Ol’ Brother, Fred”, and I tell the stories that often make him the point of the illustration.

My dumb ol’ brother Fred crawled up a tree when he was about 5 years old. A way on up there, where eagles fear to roost. Fred was a hangin’ on for dear life when I started throwing dirt clods from the garden at him. They would hit the branches and explode like bombs, we thought we were playing “army”.
Being all of 8-9 years old myself, I was throwing up into the tree near the far range of my accuracy. The clods were blowing up, Fred was taunting me for my poor aim, when low and behold one of those clods about the size of a child’s fist hit him in the side of the head. Fred began to fall, with the branches of that old elm tree cushioning his descent as he bounced from one limb to the next. Finally, like a sack of wet cement, he hit the ground in front of me and just laid there.
Being concerned for his life and my own well being lest my mother napping in the house should come outside, I reached over and poked him. He just laid there, sprawled out like road kill. I shook him a bit, trying to wake him up and looked around for witnesses to his unlucky fall from the tree. Seeing none I began to reflect on my own participation in his recklessness in crawling up so high. I was worried.
Now, a bit of background is in order here. I am the oldest of 4 boys, all Irish twins born just months apart. The oldest has been known to get in trouble for allowing foolishness in the younger siblings, and I had had it happen to me. Since I had experienced the heating up of the bottom of my blue jeans in the past for simply “puttin’ a knot on his head” I was pretty sure that there would be severe consequences for “killing Fred”.
At 8-9, the reasoning powers of how one handles murder are not well thought out. So I grabbed him by the arms and dragged him behind the chicken house to cover him with a piece of roofing tin until I could figure how to gently break the news to the rest of the family.
About this time, with the abrasions and head bumping of dragging him behind the chicken house and the clunk of the tin landing on top of him, he woke up.
Now Fred woke up mad. At that age, when a kid wakes up made, he starts crying and claiming he was going to tell Mom. I reminded him of how he would be in loads of trouble for climbing so high in that tree and would surely get a spanking for it. Consoling him, we agreed that it would be best to just keep it between ourselves.

This time however, the report of Fred’s death is real. Fred died November 29th of a heart attack. I received the report shortly after it happened. The following is the obituary I wrote for him at his memorial service. I will miss him.

Fred Ormal Feril of Waterford died November 29, 2017 at the age of 60; Fred was born to Carlton and Mary Feril on June 29, 1957, their youngest son. I am the oldest, Carl. 10 months later I was joined by the second son, Steve. 15 months following Steve, Harry was born. Then 13 months later Fred was here.

Fred entered this world in a big way, 12 lbs and 24 inches long. My parents were trying for a little girl after having had three earlier sons. My mother loved to tell that Fred was so overdue that she was determined to have him that day, so she went out and played tennis before going into labor. She said the doctor told her that the more children of the same sex you have in a row, the larger they become, so she claimed she was done. No girls for the Feril family.

He was born on the 16th birthday of my father’s youngest sister, Carolyn Lockridge, Fred would call her each year on her birthday saying, “Happy Birthday Aunt Carolyn. I know how old you are.” When I called her to tell her of Fred’s passing, her response was, “Well I’ve celebrated my last birthday then. It can never be the same.”
Fred made friends who were fiercely loyal, some of those here were his friends all the way back to high school. Fred went to school the same way he approached life, it was a party, something to be enjoyed. He didn’t like the academics, he liked the people. He finally wore enough teachers out that he graduated from Fraser High School.

After working for GM for a short time, Fred became a carpet layer. He laid carpet and flooring all over the country. He could talk his way into really big jobs and worked as hard as he played. I am sure he has done the flooring for every member of his family and most of his friends. Fred was quick to point out that he could “get you a good deal.”

He married Barb Nieto and to that union were born two children, C.J. and Ashley. I don’t know of any father who was more proud of his children. When I called Fred I always got an earful of the latest things the kids had been up to.

Then, about a decade and a half ago Fred met the love of his life. Bev McInerney came into Fred’s world and things changed a bit. He courted, wooed, and pursued her. When Fred wanted to charm someone, look out. He found out she liked plays so he took her to Jesus Christ Superstar, because we all know Fred was a man of the arts. They went to all these things that Bev wanted to do, because strangely… Fred had always wanted to do that. He kept it up until they were a couple at last.

Fred got to go to Scotland and Ireland this past year. He and Bev had the trip all planned when his step-daughter Kelly Brinker and her new husband Tommy decided to also go as their honeymoon trip. I’ve not known many couple’s who would invite mom and her boyfriend to join them on their honeymoon, but Fred got to go. They hunted all over Ireland looking for the “Feril castle”, a pile of rubble in an old field, but they found it. They found kith and kin all across Ireland, with Fred spreading his own unique style of “blarney” throughout the countryside. As they have related the stories to us, the twinkle in their eyes tells us it was the trip of a lifetime. Fred has told me hours of stories about it.

We can’t relate the story of Fred’s life without speaking about his dogs. I don’t know how many dogs Fred had. His first was a mutt named Peeper. That is the dog that had a lower eyelid that would pop out and Fred loved to talk about how he would “push his eye back in.” Dozer… there were many dogs. But Bailey, the Saint Bernard holds a special affection to us all. Big, loveable, loud, and sprawled out on the couch… Fred and Bailey were a match.

Fred leaves a family that loves him, and a host of friends who loved him as well. Fred was the kind of man who elicited many passions from all of us. We could have more fun at anything Fred was involved in than any of us could ever imagine was possible. Of course, if things got tense, we could be more frustrated with him than with anyone on the planet. He just milked the passion from every part of life

Fred was the beloved father of C.J. Feril, Ashley (Andy) Lowe and step-father of Kelly (Thomas) Brinker; Dear brother of Carl (Janet) Feril, Steve (Jaime) Feril and Harry (Cindy) Feril. Grandfather of Makenzie and Holden. Also cherished by the love of his life Beverly McInerney, the mother of his children Barb Wolcott and his St. Bernard, Bailey. And those of you who have come here today… we loved him and our world is a slightly darker place without the brightness of his smile and the twinkle in his eye.

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A Favorite Time

HOME!  I’m home this week and on a Sunday. I’ve never been gone this much from my home church in my life. I’ve missed you. Not only have I missed seeing you, I’ve missed telling you the stories of Jesus.

We’ve come into my favorite time of the year for ministry. It is the season that many in the world shift their focus for a portion of the time to Jesus. From the Nativity displays to the Christmas carols, I love to hear people talk about sharing, families coming together, and the importance of Christ to the world.

Now, in all fairness, lots of folks sing carols without much awareness about the meanings. But the reality is, that many people read Scripture without much awareness of the meaning. This isn’t that far removed from those who sing songs of praise on Sunday assemblies without any reflection on the meaning of the words.

But off of the negative and on to the positive. I spend most of my life looking for openings to bring Jesus into conversations. Now, the opportunities are abundant. From talking to little children about why so many people place a star on the top of the tree to remembering that when we exchange gifts it is an imitation of the great gift that God shared with the world in sending Jesus… each is an occasion to reflect, remember and connect.

My favorite expression in the story of Christmas is the announcement of the angel that Jesus would be called Emmanuel, God is with us. Jesus is forever the presence of God in our world. God is not distant, disconnected or uninterested… Jesus demonstrates that he is present, powerful, and involved.

God is here. God is with us. God loves us. Such language causes my spirit to soar. After whispering from heaven through the voices of angels, in the process of dreams and the mystery of visions the boldest statement of all time was the arrival of an infant who embodied God. As he grew, developed, and matured in life, the world around him was awakened to the notion that God has come.

Traveling from village to village bringing a message of grace and truth to all who would hear, touching with healing and mercy lives of the desperate and those who were hopeless, Jesus showed God’s presence in the world.

Now, living in us, serving through us, he continues his mission. Around us, if you listen, you hear the world celebrating it. Can we but smile?

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When the Pieces Come Together

Small choices are the building blocks of character formation. Being like Jesus is usually formed in little things that at the time might not seem significant. A choice to use kindness in place of trying to win, or the decision to share, rather than hoard, are the things that cause us to look like him. These are small pieces, but they are coming together to make us like Jesus.

We think of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross as what defines him, and I do not mean to minimize it in any fashion. However, if you spoke to the man born blind from John 8, or the widow of Nain, or the lepers who stood healed and whole after their encounter with Jesus, they might have a different answer.

The cross has meaning because of two factors. The first is the resurrection that followed it. Thousands of people have been crucified, only one has been raised from that death.

The second is equally important. The cross has meaning because of the life that was lived before it. The selflessness, the compassion, the willingness to help and restore in the face of judging eyes and whispering lips; these are the characteristics that separated Jesus from the crowd.

I can’t imagine the throngs of people as the message went out before him… Jesus is coming this way! The hope that it must have been elicited in the hearts of parents with sick children, and spouses of those who were infirmed is indescribable. Jesus is coming and with him comes hope.

But, what if Jesus, with all of his capacity to touch lives, had been unwilling to engage others? What if he turned away from the ugliness of illness or the despair of death? How would the gospel story read without words like “moved with compassion” or stories of his stopping to help while on his way to another place?

Jesus made small choices that were enormous in the lives of the individuals he influenced. Choices that we might not have considered important in the moment.

You will make some choices this week as well. Someone with holes in their shoes not asking for help but needing it. Someone with a coat that is too small, or a heart that is too heavy. Turn away, focus elsewhere, or continue on your path without further thought? If those are your little choices, the result will never look like Jesus. All we have to do is choose.

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I Found Me a Bass Player At The Party

People are important, relationships are meaningful, and it takes energy to maintain them. Janet and I planned to spend Friday and Saturday with some friends we met in Oxford at a music festival. It is actually three couples from Wichita, Harlan, and Codell. We prepared the motorhome for a weekend away and left Thursday evening about 6p.

You remember Thursday evening, the wind was blowing from the north about 40 mph. In the motorhome that kind of headwind is miserable, then when we turned west it became a crosswind.

Janet kept saying, “This is crazy.” But I insisted, “It will be worth it.”

We finally lumbered into their place at Codell about 9p and set up for the evening. The pleasure of our weekend was without measure. We sang and played, laughed and ate, then started over. Some of the ladies decided to do some Saturday morning shopping in quaint shops in the area.  Ages ranged from 55- 85, with little more in common than the genre of music.

Conversations were at times spiritual, other times simply trying to learn about each other. One couple winters in the Big Bend area of south Texas, urging us to come see them, play music with them there.

All of us have relationships, friendships… based on some area of interest, farming, old cars, music, sports, cooking, and thousands of other things. We create the time for them, setting aside other important things to cultivate a precious thing.

I am grateful that I have these ancillary relationships that also incorporate times of prayer and conversations about our walk before God. Some of the language of my new friends, in their walk, is different than my own. When asked to tour their tiny rural church building, to see the new “praise band platform”, we walked into an old white framed church house with high lofty ceilings. We looked as the history was explained, then out of the blue our guide said, “Can you imagine how your church would sound in here with their voices ringing in the rafters?”

We smiled, respected differences and connected once more. Our prayers together over the weekend focused on fellowship, joy, rejoicing and the belief that God brings people together for a reason. We encouraged each other, rejoiced in the joys that were shared from each life experience and laid the groundwork to spend more time together. Relationships matter.


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