It’s been a full week since our arrival in Colorado!
The ministry components of our time here have been going well (I hope to write more about all of this sometime soon). But one of the serendipitous parts of being in this part of the country has been reconnecting with old friends.
On my way from Ohio to Colorado, I posted some pictures of the road trip that Olivia and I enjoyed together — and it prompted a comment by an old classmate from Shelby Senior High School. Something about the comment prompted me to ask what he’s been up to recently, and it turned out he’s been living and working in the suburbs of Denver for quite awhile now. He’s also developed a side business as a professional wildlife photographer, and he frequently shoots in the Rocky Mountain National Park!
On the spur of the moment, we made plans to hike to Ouzel Falls together on Wednesday — and it turned out to be a really pleasant time of catching up on the last 25 years of our lives. We shared the play-by-play of how we got from high school graduation to our current stations in life. We reminisced about our days playing football together (Steve was a captain on the team; I was a skinny second-string receiver). We caught up on the happenings of other classmates, who have scattered widely through the years. And we talked about the ways our perspectives on the world have changed over time and distance. The hike provided an awe-inspiring setting for our conversation, and the conversation itself also induced an element of awe and appreciation for the way life has played out.
In addition to the connection with Steve, from Shelby, in the middle of the week, I also got to connect with my old friends Paul and Danielle, from Bowling Green, this weekend!
I’ve kept more closely connected with Paul and Danielle, via social media and e-mail updates over the past few years. We’ve even talked about meeting up during previous summers that we were in Colorado (2016 and 2018). But things never worked out, until this weekend.
We met at Flatirons Church — a large community in a converted Walmart building — where Paul, Danielle, and their girls have been involved for the past few years. The form of Flatirons’ worship experience was pretty different from our H2O worship gatherings back in Kent — with top-end audio, video, lighting, and musical production presented by a specialized, semi-professional team for a crowd of thousands — but the heart of the church was remarkably familiar. The pastor preached a sermon from the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John, which we often reference in Kent because of its explanation for the name H2O. And it seemed like Paul and Danielle fit really well as a part of the community there.
After the Flatirons worship gathering, we went out to dinner at Beau Jo’s Pizza and got more of a chance to catch up. And again, the primary outcome of our interaction was a deep awe and appreciation for the way that God has worked in the lives of these friends over the past couple of decades.
Old friends provide points of reference, to mark how much they’ve grown and changed through the years — and to mark how much I’ve grown and changed through the years. But also to mark how much we’ve stayed the same. I don’t know if I’m explaining things well, but this is somehow reassuring and encouraging to me.