Today, as I write this, on March 15th, 2016, I am fully aware the day began with a flurry of random connections. I heard that Glenn and Rachel (Chambersburg, PA), while doing a volunteer stint at Menno Hof (Shipshewana, IN), visited our son Aaron’s and daughter‐in‐law Renita’s church (Goshen, IN) and as they had seated themselves down in church next to a couple realized, as they began talking, that they were sitting next to Ken Mininger, Grace Chace’s younger brother and Rhoda, his wife. Glenn and Rachel also made a connection with Renita.
I also heard, through Connie (Chambersburg, PA) , via RuthE (Waynesboro, PA) that Linda McFarland (Waynesboro, PA) through visiting Hawley Memorial Presbyterian Church (Blue Ridge Summit, PA) and upon a ‘greet and meet’ conversation with pastor Carl (theirs, not ours) found that he knew me from our years in a joint ministerium in Susquehanna, PA.
When I arrived at the office this morning Carl (ours, not theirs) was readying for a meeting. Before long an EMU van (Harrisonburg, VA) arrived and as folks emerged I recognized Jennifer. She and husband Kendall had gone to the same church (Community Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, VA) and were in the same small group with Connie and I. I also worked two summers with Kendall for Lehman Construction, (Harrisonburg) and had gotten to know him well enough that when he, Kendall, was making summer vacation trip plans to Vermont inquired about staying over a night and camping at my brother Mike’s and wife Lorrie’s house (Jackson, PA). It has probably been 20 years since we had seen Jennifer but with surprised astonishment and warm hugs quickly renewed our connection.
And when I think of a connection my mom (Montrose, PA) made on Quilt Blitz day at the Cumberland Valley Relief Center (next door) with a woman from Diller Mennonite Church (Newville, PA) who had been a 70 year ago classmate of hers in school (Franconia, PA) I wonder about all the connections we make through our lifetimes. Which connections remain firm and which ones we excuse from our memories. And what part our Christian faith plays in these connections we foster and keep
Proverbs 17:17 tells us that ‘a friend loves at all times’ and maybe it takes the years of distance and the rekindling of connections for us to realize the wisdom of that proverb can truly be a beautiful treasure.