A few weeks ago, I met with two of my good friends from college. We had a girls getaway in Columbus. We came from Missouri, Indiana, and Ohio. It had been years since we had all been together. There was a lot of laughter, story telling, eating, talking about what God was doing in each of our lives, even some crying. My friend Bethany said something during those couple of days that I have been thinking about a lot. We were talking about friendship and how glad we were to see each other and she said “this is the only thing we get to take to heaven with us…relationships.”This past week two sad things happened. The first, a very dear friend and mentor, Jimmy Davis passed away. He was one of those people who had so many challenges in life yet refused to be defined by them. He was more than a survivor, he was a thriver. He would ask me questions about “where does Jesus fit into politics, how would Jesus have you respond.” He would really challenge me to think through those questions. When I was unjustly politically attacked, Jimmy was my sounding board and encourager of taking the high road but not backing down or retreating. He taught me by example that you could be a strong leader and still maintain integrity in the worst of circumstances. I am a better person for having known Jimmy. The best thing that has come out of being on City Council for me are the friendships that I have been able to make. And Jimmy was one of the best!The second thing that happened was a house across from where I live, a house that has been there through my growing up was demolished. While I was watching the guys tear it down, I was overwhelmed with sadness. It was a perfect picture of how I felt the past few years have been…so much change, so much loss. The reminder that nothing ever stays the same. It’s funny how I don’t mind change if I am the one initiating it (but isn’t that all of us).
After Jimmy’s beautiful memorial service today, I could tell that God was trying to tie all three things together. And I hope I can articulate it.
While watching the house being torn down, I thought of the family that lived there through my childhood; the Showalter’s. The memories I had of swimming in their pool, the neighborhood picnics/pool parties, playing with their son, the watching of each other’s house when the other were gone, John bringing smelling salts over when my sister Penny cut her hand so bad, she was passing out….the friendship and memories that the house represented. and how each person we meet and befriend through life changes us, making us a better person.
When we die we can not take money with us, we can not take titles with us, we can not take our homes and our toys and our stuff and our jobs….the only thing we can take with us are people, relationships. We spend so much time cultivating “stuff” we can not take with us that we miss out on the good stuff and that is relationships/friendships. Jesus says “let us love one another for love is of God” and “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” and “treat others as you would want to be treated.”
I do not have a lot of material stuff…I live pretty simply….in fact by some standards I might be considered poor 🙂 but one thing I do have are deep, rich relationships. And I want to spend my days letting those I love know how important they are to me and getting to know others better, recognizing the only thing I get to take to Heaven when Jesus calls me home, are the relationships I cultivate here on earth. Live simply, love deeply