Friday, December 16, 2005

What have you missed most?

This topic came into my mind like a bolt out of the blue as I was doing some simple yoga exercises. Most appropriate of course for a person of my years, but perhaps of some interest to everybody who has some years behind him, let's say ten at least.

After tennis Ellie and I were drinking coffee with one of our oldest tennis friends (I mean seniority, not age). He's a lonely man, and a thoughtful one; as Ellie said, "he has lots of conversations with himself". When we drink coffee together, he usually has come primed with a suggestion for a topic to discuss. A pleasant hour, then to home we go, and he goes?

What have you missed most? Probably not as pressing to people in the age group represented by Thomas Cole in his Voyage of Life, but as the years go by one becomes reflective (the Hindus really major on this, I'm told).

We had enjoyed the few minutes of serious conversation with Dennis, and it came to me that that's what I've missed the most: serious conversation, like sharing spiritual autobios with someone; even politics can be a serious subject if there's not too much contamination in either person.

My life spread out before me: brought up in a series of rural, dirt poor, economically and socially backward villages all over LA, moving back to N.O. was truly liberation, for all of us.

The vocation I chose at 30 took me away, back to those isolated, backward communities. We fled to NC (If you had large experience in both of those states, you would know what a great jump ahead that was).

But Winston-Salem became stale (not enough serious conversation was available). I uprooted wife and three children in school to venture up to the metropolis-- in this case D.C. That was the most exciting place we have lived, with many wonderful,exciting, spirit filled friends.

Of course one needs less excitement after a certain point, so now we're back in a backwater of Middle America, lazy, fat and happy.

A moment comes back to me from 1957. Dr. St. Amant taught our preaching class, I believe. He made this comment once:
"Riding the street car he was appalled at the trivial nature of the things people had to say to each other" Me too. (Dr. St. Amant became pres of the Louisville seminary, and the last I heard of him he had the same position in Geneva-- quite a way from N.O. that was.)

Dear friends, life is short; have fun, but make the most of it, and tell us what you have missed; it may lead to some serious conversation; that is indeed the beauty of blogging.


kiznath said...

A friend once told me that those moments of great conversation, serious conversation with good friends (usually over a good, long meal) - those moments that you want to remember forever - they're usually from God. It's how I know someone is a really good friend, if they're not afraid to talk about the real stuff that life is about, not just shopping, sports and whether or not he leaves the toothpaste cap open or closed.

I'm only 26 - so I can't say for sure that I've missed a whole lot yet. :)

Larry said...

Kathy, I agree absolutely with your friend. Those are the only kind of friends we really need, and we'll never have enough of them.

Re 26: I guess I didn't consciously miss anything either when I was 26, although I was very frustrated, being dragooned into the military just before that age.

It wasn't until I was 30 that I began to feel that I was missing something. I think you already have what it was that I missed then. All the best, dear friend.

Twyla said...

I've got to agree - deep conversations with dear friends is the best. It's one of the reasons I adore doing "church" at home. Although I stopped refering to it as Home Church. When folks ask where I go to church now, I usually tell them I don't. If they are a church-goer, they are almost always put off by the words "Home Church". I think they hear, "strange, flaky, no covering" or some such. To those folks I sometimes tell them I don't GO to church - I AM the church. Wherever I am, that's where church is happening. To non-church-goers or seekers I sometimes talk about friends getting together to share a meal, good conversation, laughter and fun.

The problem with meeting in a simple way here in the Deep South is that it is so rare. There are no networks like you will find out West or in other pockets here in the States. Our group lost 3 folks to moving, etc. and now we are down to Tom and I meeting with Charles and Jenn. Which is wonderful. Except they are moving too, in May. What will I do?

On another note: when I began this process I've been in of deconstruction and re-formation concerning spiritual matters, my (very conservative) husband was freaked. We went through almost a year of not being able to really talk deeply about spiritual things. I can't tell you how hard this was. Worse than no sex, I can guarantee that! (smile)

The last few months we have begun to gently share and talk deeply once again. What a joy this is to me! How fortunate I am to have Tom. We are so very different, yet he is graciously learning to be tolerant of my questionings and the turnings in my path.

This was a great post. You continue to be a huge inspiration to me.

BTW, am I right in remembering that you meet with Friends in Gainsville? I've been thinking how wonderful it would be for Tom and I to drive over one meeting day to worship with you.

Larry said...

Wonderful! (email coming), Twyla; you wrote, "I adore doing "church" at home."
Me too. The house we bought at Ocala 7 years ago has a really big family room, which is the main (only?) reason we bought it: hopeful for a house church.

Years and years ago, as a pastor, I came to the conclusion that the small group was where it's at, only there do people seem to get free to talk seriously- personally, confessionally!

The C of S in D.C. is totally organized around small groups, called 'Mission Groups'; one didn't belong to the church, but to the mission group. Life giving!

I would deeply urge any Christian to find (or form) a small group, and make that your primary church commitment.

As a last resort we would go to a large church and look for the small group where we were most compatible; the small group is the church!.

Your adventures with Tom are inspiring; I think you are sure to grow together through the years and discover more and more commonality in spiritual as well as other ways. It worked like that with Ellie and me.

I know that crossing over from the conservative side is a tricky affair, but terribly rewarding in the end. I could tell you so many stories about that.

Well, Twyla, you got me started, as usual.

George Breed said...

Larry, I invite you please to turn your mind to A Worthy Project on my site. Thanks, George

George Breed said...

67 is my current number and I really haven't missed a lot. I pretty much jumped to where the spirit led, always seeking life rather than boredom or stagnation.

My practice is living in this now, so I rarely look back and then only for a few seconds. Engaging this moment now, I feel ageless and still look to go where spirit leads.