Looking back on the past 3 days, I see a prominent theme. That theme is friendship.
On Friday afternoon, we had a surprise visit from very dear friends. James worked for Eric for several years. His wife, Emily, we got to know as James began to fall in love with her. James was more than the hired help. He was (& is) one of Eric's best friends. They would laugh together often, yet have many serious discussions. James loved our children and they loved him. Often, you would see James walking from one barn to another with 1-3 little ones trailing behind him. As James and Emily's relationship blossomed, the children would run out to see her as she would pick him up from work. We had many good times with them - playing, laughing, talking....celebrating their marriage. When they left for James to go to dive school in Florida and take a job in Louisiana, we all shed tears. It's been 2 1/2 years, and this place still isn't the same. With James' unpredictable schedule, it has been 2 years since we've seen him and almost as long since we've seen Emily. We found out last week, happily, that Emily was in town for Thanksgiving while James was on a job off the coast of Mexico. We looked forward to our planned visit with her this past Friday. She had texted me Friday morning wondering if it would be alright if she came by around 3:15. About that time, I was working on some Black Friday shopping on my computer when my son called to me saying that she had arrived. As I walked out of my front room toward my kitchen to greet our dear friend I was surprised by the added bonus of James standing in our kitchen, as well!!!! He had finished the Mexico job and flew up to spend a couple of days with his wife and family. Seeing the surprise on my husband's face a few minutes later as he saw his best friend was a moment I will not soon forget! Even the dog remembered them! We laughed and talked and discussed upcoming changes for their family. It was good to have a piece of the "old-times" back again. Being reunited with friends is a precious thing.
Saturday found me running errands for my dear friend, Lisa, who is recovering from surgery after falling from a horse. It was a pretty full day of taking her daughter places and running to a couple of stores for her as she is laid up and totally dependent upon others. At one point, I was near tears with how tired I was and how much I had on my plate. But, I realized that I was in far better shape than Lisa and I could not give in to the temptation to quit. We have been blessed many times by being on the receiving end of such help. It can get tiring, but that is when true friendship kicks in. Friendship keeps on giving even after we have nothing to give. I don't say this to pat myself on the back. I say it because I am learning just what others have given for me and I appreciate it even more now.
Today (Sunday), we said good-bye to two dear friends who are leaving first thing in the morning to move to Barrow, Alaska. These friends are leaving to take a position as the administrator of the hospital located in that part of the Arctic Circle with the main purpose of helping missionaries faithfully serving the Lord in that cold waste-land. Eric and I and our children have become close with Stephen and Erin through the past two years. Like with James & Emily, we have talked about life & God, shared stories, and have laughed a whole lot! They have come over after Wednesday night church to celebrate different birthdays and eat cake. We closed up church on several occasions. Our family has cone to love this couple. Today, we hugged and said "good-bye." I didn't cry this morning. I bawled my eyes out tonight. Erin gave me some necklaces of hers as she's been weeding out things for the move. She knew I LOVED her jewelry and I'm blessed that she thought of me. I hope she realizes I will pray for her every time I wear one of those necklaces (& seeing as she gave me 5, I will be praying for her very often!!!!).
Re-uniting. Helping. Saying good-bye.
Happiness. Exhaustion. Tears.
This is friendship. This is life.