Tuesday, 17 June 2014

"Companions on the Road"

My church has a theme this month called "Companions on the Road".  For me this has so many meanings!  Of course, there is the physical companions of family, friends and pets who always are there during our times of darkness and brightness, grieving and celebration.  As I thought about this, I realized that my memories and the essences of my deceased family members and childhood friends who I've lost contact with are always companions with me as I travel this journey through life.  Whenever I bake a pie, I truly feel my grandmother's presence as I mix the dough and work it.  I used to watch her when I was a child and she would get working the dough with her hands in her metal enamel-lined bowl.  Her essence travels beside me as I'm an adult and she is physically long gone from this world.  But as I work the pastry dough, she's there beside me, travelling with me.

I don't know if it is turning 50 this year, but I am missing my dad more than ever.  He died of lung cancer when I was 26.  I find his memory is at the fore of my thoughts as I go through each day.  Of course this happens every year on Father's Day but this year, my dad's essence has been with me constantly since just before the anniversary date of his death.  He's walking beside me and I am not alone.  Perhaps this is also God's way of reminding me that I am never alone.

I know that it is much easier to "feel" God's presence when I've had the rough times in life. But when life is going along with no particular bumps in the road, I find it more difficult to keep God close.  That's when I tend to take God for granted.  Just like we do our friends and acquaintances.  As I ponder why I'm being inundated with memories of friends from long ago, I realize that it may be because of the two anniversaries that I went to in April.  One for my Senior Public School and one for my church.  Again, I have "companions on the road" in the form of memories of a former ministers and even student ministers who obviously impacted me as I remember them many, many years later and wonder where they are now or are they even still alive.  Again, various companions that walked physically with me over the years and who may not even know how their lives intersecting with mine made such an impact.  Likewise, I've been remembering friends from my childhood.  I have reconnected with a high school friend in January and we keep in touch sporadically via email.  I also reconnected with another childhood friend from church in April.  I need to call her!  Just this week, I found another childhood friend who I haven't seen in 20 years!  We will be starting to reconnect through email.  These are all friends and people that I have fondly thought of over the years and wondered how we grew apart and lost touch.  Companions.  The warmth of friends, family and people we have known over the years is such a gift.

As we travel through life, we collect "things" and we work hard to afford "things".  In the process, we get caught up in working that we forget the importance and warmth of the intangible "things".  A life altering experience, such as illness or the death of a loved one, can make you change the priorities.  I find that now my focus is on maintaining relationships and enjoying each minute of my journey on this earth.  My challenge is to spend time with all my friends and family either in person or via the internet and spend time enjoying this beautiful planet that we live on.  Companions on the road.  I certainly enjoy this phrase literally with my husband and our friends that have motorcycles.  It is exciting to ride on the back and smell the fresh rain, the fishy smell as we pass by a lake, the smell of fresh cut hay in the country or the smell of somebody barbecuing their dinner as we ride by.

I think that God has provided us with memories and opportunities to meet people so that we have constant companions on our road through life.  Sometimes these companions are there for just a short time such as the lady that I met on our street when we first moved into our neighbourhood 13 years ago.  She invited my children and me to go for walks with her and her children.  She showed me around the neighbourhood.  She showed me where the library was.  She showed me the shortcuts to take to get to the mall.  She showed me the various parks and playgrounds for the children.  Then she  moved away.  She was my companion on my road which led to a new place where I'd never been.  I truly felt like God provided an opportunity for me.  I could choose to take it or ignore it.  In accepting an invitation to go for walks, I had a companion who assisted me on my own road of transition.

Do you have any "companions on the road" from your past who helped you then and maybe inadvertently help you now?

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely post, Cathy. I think turning 50 certainly impacts us in many ways: emotionally, physically and psychologically. I find myself being more and more nostalgic these days, particularly about my childhood, and missing loved ones that are no longer here like my brother and father. My father's death was the first really personal experience of grief that I had. I'd been to funerals before that, but as a spectator or supporter of others. My father's death was the first to impact my heart and soul. My brother's death was premature, tragic, unexpected, and left many questions unanswered. That type of grief is unique and certainly more profound, and definitely made me realize even more what the true priorities in life are. Since his passing, I've never looked at life quite the same way, and certainly have never taken my life for granted. The only thing I feel intensely in need of more focus and work is relationships. I've lost touch with some friends since I've moved here, both on my part and their own, and haven't made a strong effort to make new ones since I've been here, which is mostly my responsibility. My goal in the coming year is to try and make new connections to make our home here feel more grounded, and to make this city feel more like home. It's harder when you're older to make new friends, but certainly worth the extra effort. I would have loved to have a similar companion as you did when I first moved here, but wasn't as fortunate. Our neighbours were certainly friendly and even somewhat inviting, but our lifestyles are quite different and strong connections were never made, so onward I go. We shall see where my road takes me as time goes on. It's certainly interesting...