An Ode to Friendships, Fostered by Eastminster
Posted in Loneliness/Relationships
Scripture: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:12-13
Last week, as my children returned to school following Christmas break, I was eager to start checking to-do’s off of my long list. By early afternoon, I was checking things off in rapid succession and feeling great about having laundry folded and even put away. One of the items on my list was sending a couple of catalogues to neighbors Bob and Lucie Eggleston, whose mail had accidentally come to our house. Just as I was sliding the mail into their mail slot, Lucie opened the door. She insisted that I come inside.
Even against the pull of my to-do list, I sat down with Lucie and caught up about their Christmas, learned about Lucie’s plans for the Presbyterian Women study she’ll lead soon, and told Lucie about my decision to try to read through the Psalms this year. She also asked me about the new diagnosis of one of our family members, and I was able to catch up with her about some important good news in their life. After visiting for a few minutes, I nearly bounced back to my house. How good it is to catch up with a friend unexpectedly and ditch your to-do list!
But Lucie and I aren’t just friends because we’re neighbors. We served together more than a decade ago on the Vision 2020 Committee at Eastminster, where we found we had a lot in common. Fast forward several years: The house Drew and I were considering buying happened to be right next door to Bob and Lucie, which made this move feel as though it was meant to be. While standing in my driveway, I have told Lucie lots of my worries, and I have shared meaningful moments in her living room. This past fall, they helped me celebrate a milestone birthday. We also pray for each other, and doing so is important to me because I feel a special connection to Bob and Lucie since we are part of the same church family. We’re more than neighbors or friends; the tie that binds us is Eastminster.
We are fortunate to have other Eastminster friends in our neighborhood, and really love our connection to Bill and Susan Ratteree, who have encouraged us over the years as our children have learned to ride their bikes in front of their house. And down the street, the Thordahls have laughed with us every single weekday as we are racing against that 7:30 am bell to get our children to school on time. I am grateful to God for good neighbors, but I feel a special kinship to the Eastminster friends who live around us.
After a couple of years of concern about our health, thanks to the pandemic, I’m vowing to regularly return to Eastminster as safely as our family can this year. My relationships with our neighbors have reminded me again and again of the irreplaceable role our church has played in not only helping us to learn and grow in our faith, but also in helping us make godly friendships.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for our large EPC church family and the many chances you give to grow friendships based on faith. May we love each other well, inside and outside the walls of your church. Amen.
Submitted by Katie Alice Walker