Category Archives: friends
My long-time friend Don Welch is still dancing . . . and winning Swing Dance Competitions!
I have a friend who is suffering horribly with Stage Four Cancer Poorly Differentiated Neuroendocrine; there is not one single moment that she is pain-free and the pain is off the charts. My friend Chris and her family have tremendous faith and as I follow her “Ups and Downs” – as one of her daughters posted on an internet blog – my heart aches and my eyes weep. It is hard to comprehend Chris’s suffering and there is no explanation as to the questions of “why?” . . . Why??
Elaine M. Prevallet writes in “Carrying in the Body the Death of Jesus” that Jesus never taught suffering as a value in itself.
The postings on Chris’s blog about her cancer illuminate the tremendous faith and love within her family; friends regularly post encouraging messages to support her as she undergoes the pain of this insidious disease. These messages and seeing the love, strong faith, and faithfulness of Chris’s family is heart-warming.
BUT, I still rail at the horrible pain Chris is enduring. At our impotence. At the unfairness of it all (I know: that tired old phrase that Life Ain’t Fair).
I also know the well-worn phrase that it is how we deal with suffering (no matter how small or how large) that is instructive and strengthens our faith and draws us closer to God and to one another.
I know. I know.
I know that like Jesus, we suffer and we die.
I know. I know.
Chris is dealing with her suffering the same way she has lived her life: with courage and grace and unfaltering faith in her God.
However, I hate she has to deal with it at all . . .
I am assured that Chris is in the loving heart of God; God is with her every minute of her interminable pain; He never wavers in this love. No one suffers alone, yet every sufferer is singular and unique.
I know. I know.
But I still hate it all . . .
David Rensberger writes that
. . . The message of the Cross of Christ is not that God will shield us from suffering, but that we can encounter God in our suffering, even as God has encountered us in human suffering. God knows our suffering. Coming into God’s presence as sufferers, we can learn who we are, in our suffering and beyond suffering, and we can learn who God is, the God who suffers and the God who both transcends and transforms suffering.
May Chris be aware of God’s holy presence
every minute of every day.
Two Thousand Nine was filled with blessings (some tears, of course – some laughter).
I am so grateful for my family and my friends – some of whom I’ve met and engaged with via the internet (who would have thought we would be communicating instantly with just a click of the fingers?? Not I – coming from a generation that, in the 1950s, was jitterbugging in the corner drugstore to music from a colorful jukebox – listening to 78rpm records).
May God richly bless all of you.
To all my Oklahoma friends: Stay Warm! Stay Dry!
The ‘ever loosening definition of a friend’ has certainly changed with the evolution of the internet. I’m not quite sure how comfortable I am with Facebook and ‘blogs’ and other means of connection via the ease of the internet. Although I DO like the ease. It is immediate. It is accessible. It is easy. And I’ve been having a lot of fun with my Silly Blog.
Because of the internet, I’ve found some dear friends with whom I lost contact. I’ve re-connected with folks I didn’t keep in touch with that often (and have missed). I’ve found classmates and friends who gifted me in many ways and I’m thankful to once again be corresponding with and learning anew about them.
I admit that in the long-ago, when I wrote real letters (well, these letters were not in my illegible handwriting – but typed on my Mother’s Remington and later a Royal typewriter which was then traded for an Underwood – my gosh! I miss those typewriters!); it was simple to correspond in this manner.
Does that sound silly? Well, it might – but believe me when I say that to hold in one’s hands a piece of paper and read thoughts and news and encouragement and sadness and requests is somewhat different from the shorthand of electronic mail.
I don’t understand the abbreviations and acronyms of the internet (I recently asked a nephew what LOL meant! Lox on Lettuce? I asked; he patiently – with exasperation I’m sure, replied that LOL meant ‘laughing out loud’).
With handwritten letters, we wrote full words in full sentences. Goodness Gracious!
A dear cousin [Evelyn by name – who is astonishingly beautiful in body and spirit] still sends an occasional note written in her lovely handwriting and I treasure these notes. Of course, she would be as eloquent if she sent e-mails, but her handwriting causes me to see her in some way. I treasure her letters and notes.
The “ever loosening definition of friend” has become tighter because of the ability to connect by just walking into my library/computer room and punching a few keys to Google a name – and Voilà! I’ve re-connected with someone. THAT I really appreciate.
So, as I think about letters written in a Dear One’s very own hand – letters and cards which are retrieved from my mailbox and opened at my kitchen table (which is where the mail seems to accumulate) and read aloud to Hubby or silently as I smilingly visualize the writer – I am also very thankful for the internet.
And very thankful for friends.
Happy times . . . sadly, only two of these classmates are still living. We have the memories . . .
Two sneaky gals interrupted the perfect lineup!
We are still alive and kicking . . . except for losing Fran . . . she died too young.
We will always miss her.
I had never seen Swing Dance exhibitions until several years ago when we visited New Orleans. Flew into New Orleans late in the evening and searched for a restaurant near the hotel before retiring for the night. We were staying at the Pontchartrain Hotel and directly across the street was The Red Room (if memory serves . . . and memory doesn’t always cooperate – but I think it was called the Red Room – and after Hurricane Katrina, I believe it is called the Cricket Room). We decided to grab a bite to eat at this restaurant before retiring and getting ready for A Big Day in New Orleans the next morning.
To our surprise, there was a group of young and enthusiastic swing dancers – and they were great! It was a marvelous way to begin a two-day visit to New Orleans.
Don Welch, a good friend of mine (of over 50 years) competes in Swing Dance (he was a great dancer in high school . . . and is most certainly an accomplished dancer in 2009). He and his partner Peggy Allen recently won a Master’s competition in Boogie by the Bay (October 2009)– in his age division — which is MY age division — although I don’t compete in anything . . . except keepin’ on keepin’ on.
The above video is from a 2007 swing dance competition of Don and his partner Peggy Allen (they were winners then also).
He is soooo smoooth . . . and he and Peggy are such a delight to watch as they effortlessly glide around the dance floor.
Trivia note: when several of us ‘old’ friends were in Dallas a few years ago, we went to a dance club and every woman in the place was coming up, asking Don to dance – after seeing him dance with some of us. He was in great demand!