Since the middle of January, we have traveled some 5,800 miles on the roadways conceived by President Eisenhower, the national Interstate network of roads (it really is an amazing network of super highways).
In that time, we were blessed by the many friends with whom we came in contact. Even though we traveled to Arizona and then to Florida and back to the Ponderosa, we were touched by relationships some of which go back more than 60 years. Over the years our paths have crossed in some cases many times and in others only a couple of times.
The geographic spread gave us contact with people with whom we’ve intersected from Nebraska, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Texas, Georgia, and Florida. Yes, at the farthest points on this journey we were also blessed to have the company of two couples who live less than a mile from the Ponderosa. We are fortunate to call them friends first and neighbors secondly. Along the way we had the privilege of meeting new friends who were friends with other friends.
I’ve been reminded that as much as we love the Ponderosa and its scenic beauty as a base for building family memories, we’ve been blessed with friendships way beyond the bounds of that patch that we call home. I was also reminded that once in the company of these dear people, we lose perspective of the settings where these contacts are made, whether on the seashore, in the beauty of the desert, on a golf course, or in a Cracker Barrel along the road. What really matters is hearing the hearts of our friends and the manner in which we love up on each other.
As beautiful as the surroundings are, they are only incidental. Looking into the eyes and hearts of a family member or friend gives us new perspective on those who matter most to us. This is a beauty that cannot be caught on camera. There is a swelling of one’s heart when in such company; when one is given the pleasure of another’s time and presence. Love literally overflows at times like this.
Interactions like this draw prayers from deep within our souls on behalf of those we love so much. God has put into the hearts of man the capacity to love and care deeply for those whose paths we cross. In many cases, He has caused our paths to cross for His own purposes. We need to make the most of every such opportunity. The writer of Hebrews said, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” The New Living Translation says, “Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds.” I pray that our recent interactions were an encouragement to those who blessed us with their time.