Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Love Bombardment

Sub-title ~ First Lady to Friend ~ (This was my original title; my friend used the phrase Love Bombardment and I knew it was a better choice.)

Back to first lady, my friend spoke these words over thirty-five years ago.  I remember where we were.  I remember who said them.  Funny the things we remember.  She referred to me as The First Lady of Urbana.

I knew what she meant.  My husband was leading the Navigator ministry at the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois.  Even though the word “partnering” was not a part of my vocabulary in those days, we were partnering in leading that ministry.  So as Bill’s wife perhaps First Lady was an accurate descriptor. 

I kind of liked that description.  It sounded important.  But the other side of me didn’t like it at all.  I had a picture of what a first lady did, how important a first lady was and I didn’t live up to my own definition.  I knew it really wasn’t the best definition of my contribution to our ministry. 

One of our friends has wisely said, we don’t know who we are unless we allow others to tell us.  That is both encouraging and discouraging depending on what we are hearing from our friends.  Last week, it was very encouraging!

Bill and I are about to step off The Navigators National Leadership Team.  Since those sixteen years in Illinois, we have served with The Navs for six years in California and for seventeen years in Colorado, the last thirteen on our National Leadership Team.  It’s been a good ride.  But, it’s time.

So last week our peers toasted us royally with gifts and their words both written and spoken.  It was overwhelming and quite humbling.  Some of these dear people I’ve know for only a year.  Most I’ve known for seventeen years or more.  There is a lot of history among us.  As the evening came to a close Bill and I were given the opportunity to respond.  Through my tears, I said the most consistent concept I heard was friend.  How wonderful it was to hear the same thing from our one year old co-laborers and seventeen plus year old co-laborers.

Friendship is a high value for me.  Our friends could not have given a better gift.  And it is so very encouraging to believe that these friendships are going to continue even as we leave the team; they are greater than our job title.  Having friends is better than being a first lady.

“No longer do I call you servants …I have called you friends,”
John 15:15

1 comment:

  1. I like your title better. Also, wonder if this post could have been a bit more focused. As Strunk wrote in The Elements of Style, "resist the urge to explain."

    Maybe go through and decide which places absolutely require explanation and which are places where the reader can figure it out.