Wednesday, July 22, 2015
You Are My Sunshine
I am a very blessed man in many ways, but perhaps the greatest blessing in my life has been the gift of friendship. My old friends are plentiful and wonderful. There are friends from my own youth group days at New Garden Friends Meeting who should have given up on me years ago- but didn't! I have high school and college friends who are still part of my life. My days at Quaker Lake Camp connected me with campers and staff who have stayed in my life as we have all grown up- or at least pretended to! My work at various churches left me with dozens of adult friends and hundreds of former youth who are now adults, many of whom are still a very active and important part of my life. My dear friend Lisa is one of the lights of my life. And Marilyn and Will are not only family, they are my friends- the best and strongest kind. Old friends are the best!
Over the past few days this has become more apparent than ever to me as several old friends who had been absent from my life for a while reappeared with a wonderful flurry of activity. It was so great to have them back; but it was also like they had never been gone. That's how it is with old friends. They can move in and out of our lives seamlessly without truly losing the connection we share. It is such a great gift.
But regretfully, there are partings along the way. There are people we lose track of, either for short periods of time or because life leads us in different directions. Saying goodbye is never easy. Letting go is often hard. Back in 1982 I was working at QLC and thinking a lot about saying goodbye to a wonderful group of high school campers (one of whom gave me the mug pictured at top) that I didn't know if I would ever see again. At that time I wrote a song that was never sung in public. It began and ended with the chorus of the old standard, "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You'll never know dear, how much I love you, so please don't take my sunshine away." Last night I found myself humming that, and suddenly the words I wrote back in '82 were fresh in my mind. I share some of them here today- my ode to old friends.
People come and people go through a life like mine
You never know just who you can count on
But whenever I reach out for you you always seem to hear me
And you take time to shine your light my way
The thought had never crossed my mind that I could lose you
'Cause I don't think I could ever let you go
But now I see that we could have to say goodbye and mean it
The pain is real and it just won't go away
CHORUS: I wish that I could find the words
To say how much I love you
I wish that I could know that this really isn't the end
There must be 1000 ways to explain the things that I'm feeling
And to let you know that you'll always have a friend...
I know I've sometimes let you down, I know I've sometimes failed you
But you have always loved me anyway
We've shared some special moments and some special people
I just won't believe that our time has come to an end
But the time will come again when we will walk this trail together
It's part of our past, but yet it takes us home
And even if the sunshine becomes just the flicker of a candle
It still gives us hope that we'll never be alone!
Old songs are much like old friends. They take us back to times of joys and sorrow, times of jubilation and frustration. And they remind us that we are loved. Sometimes we misplace them, but real friends are never really lost to us. Where there is love, there is always hope. My old friends- the ones still present in my life and the ones I have misplaced- are indeed my sunshine. They give me courage, hope, love and support when skies are gray and when the sun is brightest. I hope they know how much I love them. And I thank God every day for never "taking my sunshine away." Have a blessed day, dear ones!