18 January 2011


Mostly I put off running errands.  After enough procrastination I employ the "just get out there and do it" strategy, especially if life here at home is going to come pretty much to a halt without the fruits of those errands.

These days Tal and I try to organize all the things we need to do and the places we need to go into one trip.  Today, as we neared the conclusion of the home-Edgefield-Batesburg-Monetta-Johnston-home circuit, it occurred to me that something significant was in the process of happening to us.  Everywhere we had been -- breakfast to credit union to attorney's office to printer to farrier to jewlery store -- we had encountered wonderful, kind, interesting people. 

Tonight, as I replay our stops, I realize that I would count everyone with whom we interacted while running those errands as a friend.  Every stop involved more than the business we went there to conduct.  In each location there was conversation, warmth, relationship.

For well over 20 years now Frederick Buechner -- a Presbyterian clergyman, probably in his middle 80s --  has been among my favorite authors.  He delights in using words well and oftentimes offers a unique way of looking at things.  When I was writing sermons on a weekly basis, he was my go-to guy if I found myself struggling with an idea or stuck as to how to express a concept.

When we got home this afternoon I took Whistling in the Dark: An ABC Theologized off the shelf to see what Mr Buechner had to say about friends.  Here's a bit of it.
Friends are people you make part of your life just because you feel like it ... The usual distinctions of older-younger, richer-poorer, smarter-dumber, male-female even, cease to matter.  You meet with a clean slate every time, and you meet on equal terms.  Anything may come of it or nothing may.  That doesn't matter either.  Only the meeting matters. (49-50)
Not every string of stops on a circuit of errands results in what happened today.  But, perhaps I'll look more optomistically on the errand list from now on.

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