Tis the Season

This time of year is always one of thanksgiving and expectation. Thanksgiving because, well, it’s Thanksgiving (and there’s always so much to be grateful for) and expectation because it’s a time of waiting (and when you’re waiting you’re always expecting something. I know, simple, right?) We’re coming up on the culmination of Advent—awaiting, expecting, the “arrival of a notable person, thing, or event”—that Person being a Savior, the thing being God’s grace (or take your pick of many other glorious things), the event being Christmas, the birth of Jesus.

Of all the marvelous things that typically happen during this season, something different stands out for me this year. It has truly been a time of miracles—but miracles of an unexpected kind. Just days before Thanksgiving I found myself again thinking of a woman who had been my friend when I was a teenager. We lived in Newport, Rhode Island, Navy housing back then. It was a lonely and confusing time for me. I had only one really good friend my age (hey there, Lin!) with whom I’m still friends today. But there was someone else, and I had lost contact with her. Mrs. Faul was a neighbor who hired me as babysitter to Jennifer, her adorable two-year-old. She was young, beautiful, smart, and devoted to her husband and child. Somewhere in the middle of all the babysitting, she became my friend, my mentor, and a huge influence in my life. She never treated me like a kid, never laughed at my teenage crushes (I was SO in love with Tony Conigliaro who played right field for the Boston Red Sox) or my angst-ridden poetry. She listened to music with me, introduced me to Rod McKuen’s poetry, helped me with my biology and math homework, took me shopping, and even sometimes went out just so I could earn some extra money. But, more than anything, she listened. To everything. And I was devastated when I lost contact with her.

Over the years I’ve tried several times to find her (no, everyone in the world is not on Facebook) to no avail. When I tried again before Thanksgiving, I somehow hit the right combination of whatevers … and there she was. I wasted no time in calling her, wondering if she would remember me. Not only did she remember, but she seemed to be as delighted in reconnecting with me as I was with her. She brought up Tony and said my voice sounded the same. Even after all these years (and we’re talking 43 of them), we were still on the same page. I am so thrilled to have her back in my life and to have the opportunity to get to know her again. It was truly something to top my gratitude list on Thanksgiving. Miracle number one.

And then a sad thing happened. I got word that one of our dearest friends had passed away. He was really my parents’ friend, but he was a man I respected and truly liked when I was a kid. His son called to let us know of his dad’s passing … and this was another amazing reconnection. We hadn’t seen each other since his mom’s memorial service 19 years ago. Before that, I hadn’t seen him since I was in 8th grade (and that’s a LOT of years ago). We had a long conversation by phone, then my brother and I made the long trip to the memorial service where Danny and I were able to give long hugs and actually look at each other. We had spent so much time together as kids. We were the same age, and we were both “only” children (until my brother was born). We played Beatle records, roller skated, and spent hours and hours playing The Green Hornet with him starring as Kato. And we laughed. And laughed. Though we were initially “forced” together by our parents’ friendship, we became good friends. Then we were transferred to Newport, and his family was transferred to Northern Ireland. And we had no connection until his mom passed away. Such is Navy life.

We have marveled at the depth of our reconnection and are pretty sure we’ve figured it out. This time we’re both believers. We understand each other in a way we never did before. There’s something sobering about looking at another human being and knowing that person has come to the same understanding of need and hopelessness without God and has surrendered to Jesus, believing on Him as Lord and Savior. There’s a connection between us that can only come about by the work of the Holy Spirit. We were friends way back then, and now we’re even better friends. Miracle number two.

And then last week I was celebrating a dear friend’s birthday at lunch. Into the restaurant walked someone I hadn’t seen in almost 30 years. I recognized him right away though he had grown a tremendous white beard. Of course he had. His hair is a beautiful white, and it’s Christmas. He always loved playing Santa, and it just seemed so right. Amazingly, he recognized me and came over to the table. What a sweet treat! We had been such good friends all those years ago, but circumstances and changes in location did what so often happens. But now we’ve reconnected. Miracle number three.

And so the word for this season (literally and of my life) is reconnection. One definition of “to reconnect” is “to meet or come into contact again after a long absence.” How perfectly that describes what has happened to me these past few weeks. And I feel like holes in my life have been plugged. (Okay, that’s not a very elegant way of describing it.) Joy has been multiplied. Anticipation has re-awakened.

Isn’t that what this time of year should be about? Advent. Christmas. A time of reconnecting—not just with friends and family—but with our Savior. A time to again look to the One who journeyed from the wood of the manger to the wood of the Cross. For us. A time to reflect on Who He is and what He’s done. The greatest miracle of all.


Tis the Season — 8 Comments

  1. What a treat to read about your reconnections with old friends. Thanks for sharing these encouraging words.

  2. I know, I know. I’m such a slouch. I really do plan–seriously plan–to do better! Thanks, as always, for your support.

  3. Whoa! A blog post. This has been my year of miracles–and this is one more to add to my collection. Happy New Year, Ev, can’t wait to see what He has in store for you.

  4. And I thank Him for YOU! I’m so grateful to have reconnected after all these years. Thanks for reading!

  5. Thanks so much, Betty. You are one of my “oldest” (in length of years, not age!) and dearest friends. I’m very sad that we’ve lost Karen and Linda. I would love to know where they are, but I don’t even know what their last names are anymore! I have always held you close to my heart and knowing that we also share our faith in Jesus makes us that much closer. Thank you, as always, for your encouragement. You’ve always been a great cheerleader! Merry Christmas, Annie!

  6. Ev (or Brunie as I called you so many years ago when we were Navy brats in Jr. High),

    Such encouraging words. God has truly gifted you with putting words on paper (or computer) that reach into people’s hearts. You always have.
    I remember when you reached out and called me after ALL those years and how I knew immediately who you were and was SO delighted to reconnect. It was like time hadn’t passed. I’m so happy to call you and Rod friends now. And to also share that connection of knowing and loving our Savior. Continue to reach out to old and new friends. You are a shining light for Jesus and I can see how he is using you and your gifts for His purpose. All those “God Winks”!
    Have a very Merry Christmas with your loved ones and a Blessed 2016! Betty (aka Annie)

  7. This was refreshing to read, Ev. Thank you for sharing it. I can identify because of our military life growing up, and the old friendships that glimmer memories from time to time. It was encouraging to read about joyful reconnections during this season of loss for me and helps me remember that “this too shall pass”. Thanks for sharing friend.