Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Perhaps some occasional readers of this blog wonder if I'm dead or alive. I'm very much alive, thank you very much!

One of the major reasons I've contributed little to this blog over the past year or two has been a simple matter of time. Serving as minister to Camelback Christian Church and teaching online have taken far more time than I could imagine. In addition to the church, I now teach for the Christian College Consortium for Distance Learning, Dallas Christian College, and Manhattan Christian College. Furthermore, I write small group questions for Journey Christian Church in Florida. Frankly, part of my hunger for writing is satisfied when writing my monthly column for the Restoration Herald. If you count up, that means I'm balancing six different writing or teaching/preaching responsibilities. I'm actually working harder than I did before I turned the ripe old age of 60.

Something remarkable -- at least for me it was remarkable -- happened last fall. I happened across the Facebook page of an 8th grade classmate who was a great friend in the day. My mother taught all six of us in the 8th grade class in Rutland, Iowa in 19--, dare I say it, 1955-56! There were two girls -- Sandy Albertson and Joyce Thorn -- and four boys -- Gilbert Hood, Jim Mayall, Roger Coltvet, and I, in the class. Gilbert Hood told me Roger Coltvet lived somewhere in Phoenix. A simple Facebook search discovered him and his wife in north Phoenix. We subsequently got together for an evening dinner and he told me he was occasionally in touch with Dianne (Thorn) Christiansen and Rachel (Lewis) Nickelson. Dianne was a 7th grader in the same classroom (there were three classes in one room) and Rachel, an 8th grader who grew up in Rutland, had moved to Fort Dodge. Her mother continued to teach grades 3-5 in Rutland that year. As a result, Rachel and I became good friends and corresponded through high school and the fall of my freshman year in college. Re-establishing relationships with these four terrific people has been extremely rewarding and brought back many memories.

These renewed contacts encouraged me to write a series of recollections about my growing up years. I've been working on that project since November 2010. This collection of memories, with pictures, is undergoing a rewrite and has reached more than 200 pages. So far, my memories have taken me from my grandfather's farm near Mark, Iowa, to my current home in Palm Springs, California. It is, for me, a labor of love realizing that few will ever read let alone be interested in these tidbits from my life. It has been fun, though, and, oh, the memories! Some happy, some sad, some bittersweet ... some extremely unpleasant. Even those, however, have been cathartic as I unwrapped some of the things in my past that created hurt and pain. All of it ... all of it, and all of them who are part of my story, made me who I am. I confess, I'm not much, but I am His!

Well, maybe just to keep this blog open and expanding I'll lift some of those stories out and present them here. We'll see!