Immediately following our BVBC Christmas Eve worship services, my family and I made a trip back home to Texas to see friends and relatives there. I made a conscious decision before going that I would not work while I was away. Now, understand, that's a very BIG deal for me, but I stuck to my guns and didn't write service orders, check voice mail, answer email... or write blog entries...
Now that I've been back in the office for a week, I realized that my last entry was 2 1/2 weeks before we left! AAARRRRRGGGGggggghhhhh! I'm sorry for being away from the blog for so long... Of course, any of you that follow Facebook might realize that I haven't even opened that for almost 2 weeks. So the fact that I'm getting to this point in my "To-Do" list means that I'm almost back to a manageable position in my work life.
With that preface, let me share that our time away was good. We spent several days with my mother, my brother and his family, then we went to spend a few days with Melinda's parents and siblings. For 2 days, there were 17 of us in my brother-in-law's house! We played games and visited, celebrated Christmas, rang in the new year, and ate more food than any one family should... all within the frame of about 60 hours!
But for me, there was one moment that was the high point of the trip:
When I was in junior high and high school, I didn't have alot of friends. I wasn't necessarily an outsider, but there just weren't a great number of people that I would spend time with. However, there were 2 students with whom I sang in choir, and for our last several years in school, if we weren't working at our respective jobs, we were together. We sang concerts together and even had a somewhat lucrative business of delivering singing telegrams. After graduation we all stayed in touch until time and distance got the better of our friendships. David went on to dance and sing in Broadway musicals, and Renay settled in the Nashville area, working on and off as a studio singer and raising a family before going back to school finish her degree in education.
About a year and a half ago, when I turned 40, I found myself reminiscing about life to this point. I found great fulfillment in the things God has allowed me to do in ministry. I celebrated the joy of a wonderful wife and children. I found surprisingly few regrets... one exception was the loss of contact with these friends. I made it a goal to reconnect with them and worked throughout the coming year to reestablish contact. Finding them took no small effort, and at one point I had conceded loss, only to find a few months later that the one friend I couldn't locate had been looking for me as well!
This year I had only one Christmas wish: Both of these friends were going to be in my hometown at the same time we were. I wanted to have our families visit and share a meal. I tried and tried to arrange it, but we couldn't seem to confirm arrival times and celebration plans with our various families. It just didn't appear that this thing was going to happen, so I resigned myself to seeing them individually as we had opportunity.
Finally, as we were packing our car to leave town for the next leg of our trip, God pulled the final strings together allowing the three of us, our spouses and children, and our high school choir teacher, a major influence in all our lives, to sit down for a 2 hour visit at the Busy Bee Cafe in our little hometown of Santa Fe, TX.
I still smile when I think about it... God has blessed my life in so many ways. My family and I have everything we need, we have a great church to serve and grow in, we have friends and loved ones who are integral to our lives, and then, as if that weren't enough, He gives me the only thing I wanted for Christmas in 2008. I'm grateful that He cares about the things we care about.