It has been about 9 years that I have been living in Florida and New Jersey is but a memory now. The year I moved here was a difficult one; Linda had left in late December of the preceding year and I was alone. There was much to do, cleaning out the condo, packing, placing things in storage. This took quite awhile. Then I moved in with my oldest daughter's family and even though there were quite a few people living in that beautiful big house; still I was very lonely. You see, we were married over 35 years at that time and all but a day or two- Linda had been there. That June, I took what remaining vacation I had and retired two weeks earlier than I expected to. Frankly, I just couldn't bear to be away from her one more day. Yes, you guessed it, the love between us has not diminished, it has just gotten stronger over the decades. During those long months, we talked on the phone often and sent letters back and forth constantly. We encouraged one another and in a way, I felt like I was in high school again, writing so many notes. Imagine feeling that way about people other than your relatives? Christians can- and do. The apostle Paul writes to his fellow Christians at Philippi and says many things, but somehow this just seems to stand out...
Philippians, Chapter 4
1 Therefore, my brothers, beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.
When I became a Christian, I identified with Christ's death, burial and resurrection by submitting to a baptism in water for the forgiveness of my sins. It took me awhile to fully realize that I really did have a brand new family as well. One who loved me because I loved God. And so, over the years, I have begun to appreciate my brothers and sisters in Christ more and more. I guess these things have been on my mind a lot today, because Austin and Carol Smith (and their friends C.J. and Dave) went back to Tennessee today. If I could say just one more thing to them (besides driving safely) it would be something like what Paul says above. It is comforting to know that even though Christians may be separated by thousands of miles and eventually even death, we will be united in heaven. Somehow, I feel better now!!! It is truly wonderful to be a Christian!!!!
PS. Charlie Brown is looking in the right direction; are you?