Blessed be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love.
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.
This hymn was on my mind during a recent visit with my friend Emily. We hadn't seen each other in over 10 years, keeping in touch via informal emails, Christmas letters (hers, not mine. I've never written one), and Facebook. But our meeting just picked up where we'd left off. Our conversations were not just filled with anecdotes and current events, but with some intimate revelations, thoughts and spiritual insights. It was such a blessing seeing our Lord at work...in each other's lives and in our relationship.
When I first got to her house, I met her son, Joe (11) who chatted a bit and played piano for me. Later, while she and I sat at the dining room table catching up, her son, David (15?) played guitar while daughter, Christie (16?) sang. Then husband, Wayne (age not revealed) joined the concert. Later, I met James (12/13?) and Will (~22?). Jon (20/21?) and Katie (19) were unavailable. Despite the time lag of our last visit, there was no awkwardness or shyness. And her family welcomed me and went about there home life quite naturally, as if strangers visit and sleep on their couch all the time. I felt at home in a place I'd never been.
I'd refer to Em as a college friend, but during our visit I realized we'd never attended college together. Emily had transferred to PSU's Main Campus by the time I was at Behrend. It was through mutual friends in the Behrend College Christian Association that we met at a fall weekend retreat. Then, those mutual friends might refer to Em or me in conversations. So it just seemed like we'd always been friends all along.
When she graduated, Emily moved to Erie for about 6 months. We hung out a bit during that time. Then I visited her when she moved to North Carolina. I went to her wedding in Virginia and visited she and her husband a time or two again. But thinking back, our real connection, the tie that binds us is Jesus. It's He that allowed us to pick up our conversation as if no time had elapsed. It's He that allowed us to meet again without stumbling and stammering, having to reintroduce ourselves, deciding on how much we could trust each other or how personal our conversation could be.
Heaven will be like this. I will meet people like Rahab, Sarah Edwards and Corrie Ten Boom and not feel inadequate. I will sit down and drink tea with CS Lewis and not be afraid of saying something stupid. Of course, I'll say something stupid but we'll both have a great laugh and he'll tell me about all the stupid things he said, as well.
Thank you, Kriebels for that taste of heaven here on earth.