At church this morning, the pastor talked in his sermon about God’s “extravagant love,” a phrase which resonates pretty strongly with me lately.
I’m feeling it in the last few days in the form of friends and loved ones both here and absent. Jayne has been away on business since Thursday, on a media tour in Myrtle Beach for a travel writing assignment. So like most old married guys, I’ve been somewhat at loose ends since she’s been away, with only our dog and football to keep me warm. I’ve missed her humor, her intelligence and most of all, just the reassuring presence of that one special person that shares your life.
I didn’t go with her because of prior plans with some long-time friends. As I wrote back in July, I try to spend a weekend each fall with my old Clemson roommate, whom I’ve known since we were in junior high, and another friend whom we met early in our college career and who now lives in Pennsylvania. We used to actually go to a Tiger football game, but — none of us being wealthy boosters with access to good seats — we now just find it more convenient and a lot more relaxing to pick a good one to watch on big-screen TV at my friend’s home in Greenville, S.C.
We had selected yesterday’s game with Miami (good choice as it turns out — thrilling 40-37 overtime victory for Clemson), but it was just a twosome, my old roommate and me. Our other friend had to cancel his trip down due to being hospitalized with the recurrence of some chronic medical problems. We did chat with him via cell phone at key intervals in the game.
Before the game we met two of our high school classmates — on their way to Charlotte to deliver a washer-dryer to their daughter for her new condo — for lunch and enjoyed catching up.
We shared news about family and friends and talked about everything else from the state of today’s public schools — they’re both educators — to Facebook. (They got on it to check out their son’s then-girlfriend — for good reason, as it turned out. My former roomie wouldn’t get on it at gunpoint.) Then we took some pictures outside the K&W Cafeteria before they resumed their journey to Charlotte.
Today, I’m also thinking about another friend with whom, sadly, we can’t share these kinds of moments anymore. Today is the fourth anniversary of the death of our dear friend and former newspaper colleague Melanie Bennett. For the rest of this story, I’m going to refer you to this blog’s post of Oct. 26, 2006. Please go back in the archive and read it. You’ll get to know someone special.
Melanie was definitely a manifestation of God’s extravagant love for her family and friends. We still feel her loss deeply, but are just as grateful for the presence she had in our lives.
Tell someone you love them today and have a great Sunday.