Monday, October 05, 2009

Pondering Life-Long Friends

Friends are to be cherished and valued.

I entered the U.S. Army in February of 1977. Going off to learn how be to a soldier, was exciting to me, and I gave it 100% of my attention. With one exception, a few months after going active duty the girlfriend I left behind and I became engaged to be married. Somehow, I was going to have juggle being married with being a soldier.

We married on a snowy Saturday, 4 February 1978. The next six days were a glorious honeymoon celebration of our divine union. On Friday, I took her home to her parents, said goodbye, and headed back to Ft. Bragg, NC. Sunday morning I deployed on a 6-8 week training mission.

Spring, 1978. After returning to Ft. Bragg from training, Debbie joined me. We moved into a nice, one-bedroom apartment in Fayetteville, NC.

The first Sunday morning after Debbie’s arrival in NC, we attended the Helen Street Church of Christ. We sat near the back because Debbie was a shy, young bride a little uneasy about being away from home for the first time. I was the only person she knew. She watched closely as people arrived for Bible Study and made their way into the auditorium. Having attended there some since my arrival in NC, I knew a few people, but not many. Most of the time I had been stationed in NC, I had not been in NC…I had been in New Mexico helping to develop a new weapons system, in California, and in a few other places. So, here we sat. My wife was 14 hours away from home and feeling a little scared due to her not knowing anyone but me.

Her beautiful, green eyes fixed on a young couple coming into the auditorium. The couple was obviously married and obviously well at ease with the congregation. They were greeting people, passing out smiles and hugs in abundance. Debbie never took her eyes off them as they made their way toward the front of the building and sat down.

Momentarily, Debbie leaned over close to my ear and whispered, “I think I know that girl that just came in.” I couldn’t believe it. Surely not. How could my shy, young wife know someone all the way here in NC from her small, southern IN hometown? Nevertheless, after services I dragged Debbie toward the front of the building and introduced ourselves. Their names: Danny and Sherry Morris.

As unbelievable as it sounds, Debbie and Sherry knew each other from being at the Blue Ridge Encampment together (Black Mountain, NC) when they were both little girls. My memory is a little fuzzy about what happened next…who invited who to dinner, etc….

All I can remember is that from that day on Danny and Sherry have been a constant part of our lives. We have lived together, worked together, raised kids together, traveled the world together, watched our kids get married together, suffered hard times together, celebrated good times together, laughed together, cried together, and sang together. We have been friends now for over 31 years. I can’t imagine what our lives would have been like without Danny and Sherry in them. In fact, I don’t even want to try to imagine it.

I look forward to these times…growing grandchildren together, getting old together, dying together, and being reunited in Heaven together.

I’m so thankful to God that I have Danny and Sherry as my life-long friends.

Friends are to be cherished and valued, but life-long friends are priceless and their value is far above any measurement!

1 comment:

Debbie said...

I sure do miss them. The times we have had with Danny and Sherry are what come to mind first when I "ponder" good times. Hope we get to visit again soon.