“Community” friendships

I spent the day searching. I soak it all in …
years since I’ve made a visit to her home (August ’09)
high up on a “hill” (by south Georgia standards) … nestled against pines
stoic and still amongst fields of grazing bovine, barbed wire and paths of dirt.

I am reminded why we are friends ….
as I peek into corners and crevices of her life
on display on ledge, table top and shelf …
We share affinities for things of old …
like an antique nut grinder that sits in her windowsill.
I have one almost identical on my hutch
four hours north and east as the crow flies.

A jar of candy corn graces the other end of the kitchen window sill ….
candy corn; my favorite autumn treat.

She, too, has a flat bottomed whisk.
I quiz Nina and Bonnie, “Do you reach for it often?”
“Is it your preference?”

She chooses to give thanks ….. a striving goal for me.
Rather than a Christmas tree, she puts up a “Thankful Tree” this year ….
bearing the weight of emblems of faith ….
feathered friends, statements of faith and cones from pines …
that she might focus on being thankful in December ..
this the first year after the death of her mother …
untimely … only a few days before Christmas last year.

The shadows became long and narrow as I looked at this corner of her life ..
like Della and Jeff, I have watched Kevin love Bonnie for years …
always tender and thoughtful in kindness towards each other.
And I teared as I told her how hard it used to be to watch them …
knowing that I would probably never have such.
Little did I know ….

As the afternoon wore on, we sat on her front porch and conversed.
We moved and moved again
as the heat of the sun caused us to need to find shade …
I swung to and fro in the afternoon breeze in amazement
remembering that south Georgia Novembers can be this warm.

Then the sun dipped low behind pines and hardwoods
as the Canada Geese made their way across the sky ablaze with glory.

She told me stories of her mama, her childhood and today.
Mostly, when it was my turn to share,
I spoke of the subjects that sit on the tip of my tongue: God and Stone …
and how He has used him to teach me wonderful new lessons …
about life, myself and Himself.

We began our day
bare and honest,
bathed in sunlight …
unmasked …
and came to a close in the same way.

At one point, I found myself
admiring Bonnie’s gorgeous bracelet
It seems to me that I admired it last time we were together.
This time, I lingered at her wrist ….
not remembering the details in the gorgeous fish.
I thought of Jesus’ words to Simon Peter and Andrew,
Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”  (Matthew 4:19)

Before my visit ended, she extended her arm,
bracelet in hand …  and said,
“I want you to have it.”
I hesitated and even refused …
but Bonnie’s persistence melted my heart
and I agreed under one condition:
this beautiful work of art
would be a piece of “community jewelry”
that I would wear
and return again at another visit.

I find that I have many of these things ….
Heather and I share “community furniture”
in the form of a gorgeous little table
that we found while yard saling together almost a decade ago ….
It has lived at her home, but for the time being, resides in mine.
We share a “community tile ”
because we both love trees and leaves and, yes,  rocks.

Della recently shared a dress with me for several weeks …
it was never named a “community dress”
but I wore it
over and over and over again
in that month or two that it was “mine” …
and thought of my affection for her
while feeling beautifully funky
in the wild brown-and-pink-on-white retro pattern.

And so, I accepted Bonnie’s gracious gift
knowing that we would share this cuff bracelet
inscribed with a reminder
that He calls us all to be
“fishers of men.”

I accepted her gift
as a gift from Him
that I might wear a gentle reminder around my wrist …
a community message that she and I share …
of redemption, love and mercy.

And so I close November
giving thanks ….
for candy corn, the love of a man and woman on display and a Rowdy pup ….
for “community” friendships,
symbols of His love
the blessing of a kindred, gracious heart.

5 thoughts on ““Community” friendships

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