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Monday, May 18, 2015

Old Friends

It's been good to be back in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. It had been about 15 months since we'd seen Doug's family and of course, with his sister Jan being so sick, it's great to have the time to hang out here awhile. We've been able to see Jan and her family quite a bit.
A favorite photo of Doug and Jan, taken in Palm Springs a few years ago
She weakens quickly and needs to rest and they need time in the house for just them as a family. They have two dogs, smaller by a lot than Tanner, and one of the days we brought Tanner with us. It was quite the canine romp. Good thing everyone is this mix likes dogs! Our hearts are heavy with the road that Jan is on right now. Please continue to keep her and her family in your prayers. These are fragile and precious moments that are also not easy.
Saturday evening we, along with Doug's folks, his sister and her husband, met up with a dear friend from college, her husband and daughter to attend a play their son was in here in town. The play was a based on the old Swedish American vaudeville circuit that was popular when new immigrants were pouring into the US. It was pretty funny with their exaggerated Swedish accents and silly Swedish jokes. The best was connecting with my dear buddy who I have known since 1978. Our friendship was sealed as we studied genetics together in our freshman year Life Science class.
Another bright spot for me is that several people from my days of being chaplain at North Park University live here. Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a church where a former student is the pastor.
Couldn't find a wedding photo so here's the whole family!
I also had the privilege of marrying him and his wife almost 20 years ago. It was a joy to see their sweet family and see how Ryan had matured in the pulpit. It happened to be their last service in that church. They are moving west to a new church this summer so it was especially sweet to enter into this time with them. I sat with another couple who I married, also, 20 years ago, and they were lifted up in Ryan's message as true servants to the church.

It made my heart sing to see how these young people had grown into the church leaders of today. Another woman, there with her two kids, was in high school when I was the intern in her church. We were close when I was her youth pastor and it's also neat to see her active in the church, caring for her children. The service was wonderful and I felt almost at home! I was able to go to lunch with another friend who has visited us in Stockholm and with whom no subject is seen as taboo. We went to an awesome burger joint and I enjoyed one of the best burgers I've ever had. Good 'ol American burgers. Can't beat 'em!

There's a couple from our church in Stockholm...another pair who we married a few years ago, who now have a newborn. Can't wait to see them and hold their little guy. Pictures reveal a very cute baby! And when I think of it, there's yet another couple whose wedding was the last I did before we moved to Stockholm! I guess the Twins Cities have been a bit of a magnet for the couples I've hitched! I hope to see them later this week. They are the parents of 4 kids now! It's amazing how the years have gone by. I feel humbled and honored that we've kept in touch all these years and still enjoy catching up.
Old friends...there is something about sharing a history together that lends itself to an immediate sense of closeness even when years have gone by and geography separates. To see how these young people have matured into family folks, good parents, church leaders, civil contributors brings such joy to my heart. I'm very thankful that my path is allowing me to cross theirs every now and again.