I recently watched the Hugh Grant Film “Love actually”; and as always I was captivated by the opening scenes. Filmed at a bustling airport arrivals terminal, as people greet one another with smiles and tears, hugs and kisses. It’s that feel good factor, right at the beginning of this movie, that’s sucks me in. I’m not convinced the movie gets any better after this, but after these scenes of genuine love and affection I am committed to watch this Rom-Com just one more time, and to get totally immersed in whether this boy and girl will ever get it together – and then surprise, surprise – they actually do!
It’s those opening scenes that touch me deeply. To watch people reunited – family, lovers, friends, who have obviously travelled the world to be together, now meeting and embracing. Suddenly, in that busy thoroughfare, intimacy is shared and the world is lost as two souls reunite and magic is encountered.
During my life and ministry I have moved around far too much, and over the years I have lost touch with people who I have loved deeply. In many cases the time and distance have separated us and our own lack of commitment to write and phone has meant that some of those friendships appear to be lost forever; (Thank God for Facebook!)
I have managed to keep up with several friends over the years, with occasional calls and emails, birthday and Christmas cards and those special unique meeting. It’s those meetings that have always meant so much. When someone walks back into my life after 5, 10, 15 years; and suddenly the missing years fall away and love is reignited, just as if we were never apart. I know in that moment that nothing we say about the lack of communication since we were last together really matters, all that matters is this relationship, this friendship, this connection, this time together.
Yet even after such a great time together, we separate with promises to be more committed to keep in touch – I promise I will email, phone, visit; but still I fall back into that busy routine and this vitally important friendship returns to the back burner of a busy life. The amazing thing is, despite neglect, somehow it survives only to enjoy another reunion some time in the future.
I have become aware, particularly in recent years, that within each friendship I have encountered something of God’s amazing love. Through each unique personality, individual style, sense of humour, faith (or lack of faith) political opinion (some of my friends are so well informed, others not so!) and through fascinating conversation. But more than that, I encounter God when we are reunited, embraced, appreciated, loved, accepted, valued and forgiven.
Thank You Father for friendships that sustain us, for reunions that encourage us, for love that actually does surround us. May we each be aware of that great love today.
Jesus – during this Lenten season – remind me again that I have friends who care, and through them your love is shared. Be with each of them today Lord. Thank you for them, especially those I have lost touch with.
Lord hear us – Lord graciously hear us!