Have you noticed that our world is shrinking? It never ceases to amaze me that I can pick up a computer and chat a half a world away in real time with people I haven’t seen in decades.
Sometimes it puts me arguing with a conspiracy nut in Turkmenistan over the validity of the space program, but often I have made some really great new friendships, and reunite with people I have missed so badly. The roaming family vacation has given me a great chance to rekindle a good thing, and speculate on paths not taken.
I would love to share an awesome reunion. It must be a taste of what heaven is like. In laying a back drop for this story it would be good for those of you new to my blog to pull up some of my past history. These links document some of my history in my search for the perfect soul mate. Spoiler Alert. I win!!!
In the Fall of 1986 as a newlywed, I was the veteran of several short term mission trips. My friend and mentor at that time, Tom Walker was needing to go back to his home churches to report on his progress. If you come from an Evangelical background this is called a furlough. We had the opportunity to supply for him on short term basis. In the Fall of 1987 we repeated the trip again.
Tom’s church was budding in the small town of Erickson, Manitoba. The work had converts and interaction with nearby Rolling River Reserve. Particularly the second year on a longer trip, I had a great time. The work was new, small and growing. I absolutely loved the people. Most of the church were honest farmers struggling to make a living. I loved working with them, visiting with them, and just being a part of their community.
We had a great youth group ministry at the time. Dianne and I were in our low twenties. We were actually fun people back then. It was such a unique time. I didn’t have to deal with discipline, like you would as a teacher. We just enjoyed being with young people because we were young, and we didn’t have to take ourselves that seriously. I could see going back up there and growing old, working with the people there.
I considered trying to raise mission support to do a sister work in a local community. The church was funded by, and set up under the auspices of a denomination out of Lincoln, Nebraska. Being young and dumb (Now I am old and dumb), I assumed that I would do fine with that denomination. Boy was I wrong! I did an interview with their leadership, and just did horribly. You would have thought I thanked Hitler at the Oscars. Perhaps I should have tried harder, but I just didn’t see it happening. At some point I will probably deal with this on a future blog, but my life took a different course.
Fast forward thirty years. I occasionally thought about that church and my friends up in Erickson, Manitoba. My kids grew up with an occasional story from my days back then. Sometimes Dianne and I would talk about that time of our life.
In a parallel world, David Dyck, one of my Junior High kids grew up in far away Manitoba. Dave took a bride Cathi and raised four beautiful Peter, Anna, Lily, and Brian, children of similar ages to my three Benjamin, Jeremiah, and Nathaniel. One night far away, in a moment of “What happened to Sid and Dianne” they did a Facebook search and we popped up.
Facebook is an interesting convention. Often I reconnect with someone and you realize that something has changed and it just isn’t the same. This was not to be the case with my good friends the Dycks. After thirty years it was even better. It was so good that it made me grieve that we missed so much time not being in each others’ lives.
And then there was the reunion! Their parents Lawrence and Phyllis, on a vacation to the states drove out of their way from Branson, Missouri to Greenville, South Carolina and it was so great. It was like we missed a lifetime, and we hadn’t missed a minute. Phyllis is the bubbly effluent wonderful person who is everyone’s mother and everyone’s grandma. My kids who are still grieving the passing of their grandmother, quickly adopted her as their Canadian grandmother. Lawrence is a man who is quick to think and slow to speak. We both made our livelihood in repair work. He is just someone that I always respected, and missed so much. They stayed for a couple of days, they could have stayed much longer. It was such an amazing time.
It put a hunger in us to go back to Manitoba, and share that chapter in our lives with my sons. This year the climax of the 7000 mile road trip was that we got to see the Dyck family in their home. We spent an afternoon sailing, with Dave and Cathi. We enjoyed meeting Cathi, after interacting with her on Facebook and found her to be a new, old friend. On Saturday we met their children. What an amazingly fun talented bunch they were. We were treated to a five hour personal bluegrass, country, old gospel concert. All of them could pick up any of the instruments and play it like it was their first love. They could have played forever, and we could have listened forever. We told new and old stories, and jokes. I just don’t know when I have had a better time. I wished I could have raised my family up the road from them.
We stayed on another day. It was too short. Good times always are.
The trip was amazing. We saw world class sites, new places, new terrain, met new people, interacted with different cultures, and clicked of a whole bucket list of adventures. Times spent with good people always are the best!