Have you ever had the experience of picking up a conversation with a friend after years had gone by? We’ve had several like that this summer, some from high school, others from college or Army days. But today we had a similar experience with a couple we’d never met. We attended a church just a couple of miles from our RV park and everyone tried their best to make us feel welcome. One couple in particular, though, just had a comfortable feel from the beginning. After church, Bill and Lynn asked us if we’d like to go to lunch with them and the conversation felt more like catching up with old friends than meeting new ones. LeRoy used to have a saying about acquaintances who grew up not far from him: “We went to different schools together” and that’s what we felt today. They were children of the ’60s in Indiana while we were growing up in Oklahoma and Kansas. They are RVers, as well, and have just returned from a 7600 mile trip all over the eastern US. They’ve suffered the recent loss of a parent as we have and we shared the decisions that had to be made about “stuff”–what to keep, what to give to family members and what just wasn’t worth it. Even though they aren’t full timers, they have grandchildren at a distance, too, and we know the feelings that accompany that.
Years ago, when our friends Eldon and Sharon left Texas, I was devastated. I just knew that we had something really special with them that we’d never have again.Then after we moved back to Wichita, our friends Johnny and Karen came back into our lives. (We met them at church camp as teenagers, where we each became couples as well.) And a few years later when we moved away, I remember crying and telling LeRoy that there would never be another Karen. And you know, I was right. There never has been (and never will be) another Karen, but there have been other friends along the way.
I guess that’s why this “chance” encounter today has touched me so deeply. God has just proved again that He can take care of ALL my needs, even the need for a friend when I’m a little bit homesick and far away from home.