Dear family and friends,
“Unforgotten Friends” That is the title of a book I’ve given some thought to writing. It would be a collection of all the unforgettably enduring and endearing people who God has brought into my life to wonderfully shape the nature, depth and size of my soul. I thought of choosing a special savory, sweet and even sometimes sassy story of how these persons have given my way of living, thinking, loving and enjoying substance to draw on often.
You, my forever, unforgotten friends, have filled my memory bay. You are overflowing through my heart into my thoughts and tears. I find myself deeply moved by the many little and large moments that come to mind. It is an endless flow of precious life with you. I see many of you often approaching me with a lunch from our potluck, allowing me to talk with people after service. I feel the hugs as we share a brief moment at receiving the Lord’s Supper together. I hear your struggles, your tears, your joys and searching questions you entrust me with. I see you with open hearts welcoming something of God’s Word I am attempting to share, the gentle nods, the jotting a note, and on occasion the eyes slowly receding because you are tired. I am glad you could find safe rest. I see the roar of laughter at my wonderful jokes, (ok, that’s my imagination stretching it a bit. Ha)
I remember the all-church camps where we lived, oh so briefly together for a couple days, yet felt the closeness from then on with each other. I relish the shared joy many of you brought so tenderly to the women and children of the Women’s correctional facility. I hold humbly the moments of being there in the ocean and God’s presence as you relinquished yourself to His redeeming grace in baptism. I cherish the freedom you gave me to discover and truly learn to live into who God made me to be with more freedom, peace and joy than I had imagined possible. This is a gift I am forever grateful for to God and to you. My best life lived, as I believe for you as well, emerges from the continuous assurance of being loved and accepted. God has found you to be such a gracious deliverer of this in my life.
You have lived with, accepted, understood when possible, forgiven when needed, encouraged and empowered more often than you may realize; me. I thank you. This hardly seems adequate, yet that is my best at this time. It is with an ocean of thankfulness and inspiring care that Bev and I say goodbye until we meet again.
We love you and hold you in our hearts and prayers,
Pastor Dale and Beverly