Friday, September 3, 2010

"You Need to Be There"

Twenty years ago, sometime in the mid-fall, our then-Sr. Pastor tapped me on the shoulder after morning services.  I remember it like it was yesterday. It was one of those moments that you look back upon and your heart and mind say, "Ahhhh, that's what that was all about."

He asked how the newlywed Boss and I were doing, how we were adjusting and settling in. We chatted very briefly and then he said, "My daughter and her husband are starting a small group just for young married couples at their home tonight. You guys need to be there."

So, we went.  I mean, when your Sr. Pastor stops you and tells you "you need to be there,"  you don't much question that. At least, I didn't. (But then, I'm a first-born and I love to please the authority figures in my life. Even more so when I was just a young 20-something!)

When I look back on it now, I realize that this was the night that our connection at  that church moved from "attendance" to "relationship." That night, we met couples that walked with us, cried with us, rejoiced with us, over the course of the last 20 years. That night, we started on a journey of intentionally connecting with other folks who were ahead of us in the journey of marriage. Couples who were just starting out with us as newlyweds. And even a few couples who were newly-engaged and soaking in all the preparations they could. It's from that group that our two or three most significant adult relationships have sprung. And those relationships have grown, flexed, and sustained us in ways that only the dearest and most intimate of friends possibly can over all the ages and stages that life together brings us all.

This weekend, we are setting off to enjoy a reunion of that original small group and all of the multiple groups  that have come out of its core over the past twenty years. Some of the folks we'll get to see are ones with whom we have lost touch. But they were there at the beginning of our journey and it will be wonderful to re-connect. Some of the folks we'll bump into will be from different generations of that original group as it multiplied out and gave birth to other young-marrieds groups over the last 20 years. And I can't wait to meet some new folks that I know will be there as a result of the group's place in their own journey. I don't know all of them yet, but that's okay. I know where they came from.

That night, 20 years ago, was a touchstone for our marriage. For our newly-begun adult life. And for many, many other newly-married couples over the past 20 years that group has functioned as the same point of connecting. It's exciting to look at all the lives that have been shaped and formed by that ministry. By the core of that original group in some manner. It's a family tree of sorts. A healthy family tree in the life and growth of a healthy church - just as it's supposed to be. The last twenty years have yielded great fruit. Great legacy. We are so grateful to have been there for the start of it all.

To James and Trina, for your passion to see couples build healthy and strong foundations for their families, The Boss and I (and our many gang members!) thank you.

To Chuck and Susan, your ministry and training and mentoring over these 20 years, starting that memorable night in James and Trina's living room, has made a lasting impact on our marriage and our parenting.

To Brett & Teresa and Ron & Sherry, for your sustaining, unconditional, consistent love and friendship, The Boss and I thank you. We could not have started this journey and lasted on it so long without any of you by our sides. In our homes. In our hearts.

And finally, to Pastor Larry, for your sensitivity to the Spirit's leading, The Boss and I thank you.

You were right, we needed to be there.


ComfyDenim said...

What a nice tribute and sweet memory.
Everyone should have such connections.

TCC said...

Totally bummed that we won't be there this weekend. Singing in and being at a family wedding kind of took priority.

Hopefully this will simply be the first get-together and we will be able to participate in future ones. :)

Aus said...

Wonderful tribute to God and to man recognizing His lead! Enjoy your friends - thank them for their love and committment - but always remember that it was you and the Boss that made the decision to make it work....and just for a second relax and bask in the joy, love, and just plain contentment that this decision led to! And then - get back to work on it! ;)

hugs and loads of love for you guys -

aus and co.

James said...

Wow! What a blessing! I thank God for establishing the foundation and connecting the hearts of all the couples who gathered in our home! It was awesome to see the Holy Spirit bind us together! We will never forget our "small group"! Thanks for honoring us in this blog! You guys are special!

James & Trina Lozano