“Each friend represents a world in us,
a world possibly not born until they arrive,
and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
(The beautiful midnight snack, well actually 1am snack,
set before me upon my first arrival in Bangkok.
Freshly baked walnut bread, savory Brie cheese,
delicious Carr’s Table Water Crackers (my favorites) and
a glass of mellow Merlot—and don’t forget the ambience of scented candles.
The perfect end to a very long
23 hour journey from America.)
I’ve been thinking alot about friendships lately, which I am sure has something to do with the holidays. Decorating the tree brought many, many fond memories as I unwrapped ornaments given by dear friends. One by one, I hung them on the tree, smiling and remembering. Some funny. Some serious. Some handmade. Some very intricate and very personal.
But, in all honesty, the real reason my heart has been reflecting on friendships is because I am sorely missing a very dear friend, Kim, who I left serving God and family in Bangkok.
Walking the streets of Bangkok, two visionaries,
scheme, plan, and pray for God to do great things!
As one of our heroes, William Carey, wrote,
“Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God.”
Over twenty five years ago, Kim and I, as single women, dreamed and schemed of taking the world by storm! A great deal of energy, at that time, was spent working with children, in programs such as, “Missions Lunch Bunch,” and “Mighty Mountain Movers,” where Kim served as visionary, teacher/writer and missions expert, and I came alongside, writing original music, curriculum, and dramas. Our time together was brief, a couple of years at most, because Kim answered the call to full-time mission work in Thailand. Oh how I wanted to go with her, but God’s plan for me was different. I remained in the States—married, began a family, served alongside my husband in birthing our family business and became “senders”—individuals and families who wish to support missionaries on a regular basis.
Missions has and always will be a major part of who I am. But, if I am honest, there have been times in the last twenty five years, when I have actually felt forgotten, talking to God about my longings to “visit the foreign fields” and serve him abroad. Every year, when my church hosts the annual missions conference, I usually find myself sitting in the pew, crying softly, wondering. . . will there ever be a time when I can go? Then, the email came and the invitation extended, through my dear friend, Kim, to speak at a women’s conference in Bangkok, Thailand. And, the funny thing is the retreat was scheduled the same weekend as my church’s annual missions conference! I couldn’t help but smile.
So, after years of pining, I boarded a plane headed to Bangkok. Twenty three hours in the air! An hour before the plane landed, I could hardly contain myself. The man sitting next to me, Bob, whom I had been talking to for hours about God’s plan of redemption, patiently listened to my countdown, “One more hour…..thirty minutes…..ten minutes….we’re here! WE are in Bangkok, Thailand! Incredible!” After donning my final swoosh of lip gloss, I made my way through customs, secured my luggage, and blindly made my way through the massive corridors of the Bangkok Airport. After several walks up and down the main corridor, I finally spotted them—first, my daughter, Candace, then Kim, and then Kim’s husband, John. Needless to say, I yelled! To say I was ecstatic would be an understatement.
Kim and I picked up right where we left off. It seems, in many ways, time had stood still, except that now, we were older, wiser (somewhat!), weathered, matured, and between the two of us, had 7 children. Life had moved on, but our friendship seemingly had stood still. That is what true friendships do. They last the tests of time. They endure long, drawn out spaces of quiet, endure growing pains, and rest in the security of love and change.
Early in our week together, I noticed my daughter being very, very quiet. I asked, “Candace, are you okay? You sure are quiet.”
“Mom,” she smiled, “you two are intense. I am just listening and learning. This is a time to learn.”
Funny how life works. So many years ago, I carried Candace, in her baby carrier, into Kim’s lovely condo, where we wrote plays, planned lessons, and dreamed dreams. Now, these twenty some years later, she walked beside us—still listening, still learning, and now, dreaming her own dreams.
Later that night, alone in our bedroom, Candace shared, “Mom, I see why you love your friendship with Kim so much. You really are equals. Kindred spirits. I can see that. It makes so much sense to me.” She’d heard me talk of Kim for so many years. More than anything else, I was so happy to live friendship before my daughter’s eyes. Personify what true, godly, friendship is—Christ-centered, passionate, globally minded, patient through the seasons of life, and most importantly, F-U-N!
This past week, Candace wrote a post on her blog, (http://candaceroserardon.wordpress.com/), where she writes of a friendship between famed authors Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield. In a letter to Virginia, Katherine writes, ““I wonder if you know what your visits were to me—or how much I will miss them. You are the only woman with whom I long to talk work.”
I am so grateful for my two visits with my dear friend, Kim, with whom I long to talk. . . about work, yes, that is true, but more importantly, about the advancement of the kingdom of God. At a time in our life when we both are facing empty nest, God saw fit to bring us back together again—igniting within us, once again, a passion to serve Him. I wish we weren’t on opposite ends of the earth, but I rest in the truth that there is no distance in the spirit.
Perhaps you are aching for a visit from one of your dear friends. Longing to connect and laugh and dream. If so, send a quick email to let them know and then rest in the fact that God knows. In his perfect timing, he will bring you back together—even if it is only a few days! Nothing can separate true, lifelong friendships!