Sunday, October 4, 2009
It Is Well With My Soul
This weekend had the potential to really suck. There was a Quaker Lake Staff Reunion going on in North Carolina that we could not attend. Just missing that was enough to label the weekend depressing. If we had been able to attend that event, we could have also dropped by the world famous Ham & Egg Supper at Springfield Friends Meeting. Strike two. And finally, it is my last weekend before I hit 50 on Tuesday. My age has never been something I dwelt on, but 50 is fairly major. AARP is calling. Senior citizen discounts are just around the corner. I have to start eating early bird specials more often. That should be strike three. My weekend should have officially been ruined.
But a strange thing happened on my way to pouting about my sad situation. On Saturday night a small group of old friends (pictured above, except for photographer Jim) gathered to eat Japanese food and celebrate my birthday. These were friends who drove from Kissimmee and Lakeland to eat with us in Tampa. And we had a blast! Jim and Karen Fry, Josh and Sarah Crudele Fry, Lisa Kraus Spires and Jerry Hanbery joined Marilyn, Will and I for an evening of being way too loud and having way too much fun. Despite the old jokes flying around the hibachi grill, I forgot for a few hours how crappy my weekend was supposed to be. It was a wonderful evening. And then Sunday came. We had a great morning at Van Dyke Church, a great lunch at Moe's, and then we went as a family to see the Toy Story 3D double feature. It was just a great day, spent with my family. And once again I was left with nothing to complain about.
Spending time with those amazing friends and my incredible wife and son reminded me of a great spiritual truth. The old Kissimmee crew knows all about me and yet still call themselves my friends. My wife and son have every reason to just let me wallow in my self-pity, but choose to love me instead. You know who else does those things? Jesus. It has been said that unconditional, Christ-like love can be defined in the following way: There is nothing we can do to make Jesus love us more, and there is nothing we can do that will make Him love us less. How cool (and rare in this world) is that? I was all set to write this weekend off as a total loss, when starting Saturday night I ran into people who were Jesus with skin to me. And suddenly I felt alive again! We tend to dwell on our sins, our mistakes and our losses. Jesus just loves us. In the words of one of my favorite hymns: My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought, my sin not in part but the whole; is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul! It is well, with my soul... No matter how badly we think we have failed, Jesus has already forgiven us. And those of us who truly seek to follow the Christ will do the same.
I hope the reunion was a blast, and I do hate I missed it. I hope the Ham & Egg Supper was its usual rousing success. I am going to turn 50 on Tuesday whether I like it or not. But you know what? I have great friends, an amazing family, and Jesus loves me. And absolutely NOTHING about that sucks!
Because of Jesus,