Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Staying connected with friends and family has been a concern to me of late. It seems that we can get so wrapped up in our daily duties, obligations and concerns (all legitimate to be sure) that we could easily push aside those who have been a very important part of who we are.
It was approximately 24-25 years ago that we Arnolds met the couple that you see pictured above. It was while we were living in Caro, Michigan (which seemed in the middle of nowhere), we were pastoring Bethel Lower Light Church on Lee Hill Road. The church and parsonage were located wayyyyyy out in the middle of beautiful country, with only a few other houses on the road. We were young with three small boys. Phil had to supplement our meager income by working at a car dealership in near-by Cass City and I was selling Home Interiors. It was at a weekly meeting that I met, and quickly become friends with, Ronnie Setla and eventually we got acquainted with her husband Jim and their two children, Kirk and Sadie.
Our life, at that time, was difficult (to say the least) with many many problems (medical and financial). Ronnie became my closest friend and confidante. She was always there to care for the boys whenever I needed her to, and Jim was always handy to fix whatever needed fixing in the parsonage, as Phil was bed-ridden because of his heart problems (he had to have open heart surgery while we were up there to fix a hole that he had been born with and had gotten bigger).
I honestly feel that God had sent Ronnie and Jim our way. They were a huge blessing and we became very close to them and their children. It is hard to believe that almost 25 years have gone by. We moved back down here, had another child (Becky) and much has happened since first meeting them. They lost their daughter in a car accident (she was 18 and would have graduated High School in a few months), their son has married and has two children, our children have grown and we have grand-children. But....for approximately 25 years, Ronnie and I have made the effort to stay connected. Because we have pastored and have had obligations that have kept us "at home" for week-ends, it has been difficult to make time to go there to see them, but every year since we moved back down here, Ronnie has come for a visit at least once a year, and sometimes twice, bringing her grand-children with her. What a wonderful thing to have friends who are friends through "thick and thin".
Well, this week-end Phil and I went to their house for a visit. Phil had been asked to "Fill-in" at a church in Vassar, where we had attended periodically while living in Caro (some more wonderful friends!!), so we took the opportunity to spend some time with Ronnie and Jim. Ronnie had a brain tumor just a year and a half ago, so she is still not able to drive. She is improving at a very impressive rate and we thank God for that.
Our time spent with them was wonderful. I have to say that Jim spoiled us rotten. He insisted on doing the cooking while we were there and he also insisted that I sit in HIS recliner with my feet up as much as possible.
I know this is quite long, and maybe boring to some of you, but the point I'm trying to make (yes, I do have a point) is this: If God has blessed you with friends, do whatever it takes to stay connected. If God has blessed you with family: stay connected. I'm preaching to myself as well. When my friends and family come to visit, do I love them enough to treat them as "royalty"? Would I give them MY favorite chair?
God help us to cherish each other's company and STAY CONNECTED!!!! Love ya!!!! Sue