Yesterday's reflection included one of my favorite verses from Sirach. It's about friendship, and yesterday was certainly a day to spend time with friends that I don't see much outside of church/church functions.
Even though St. Thomas the Apostle's feast day was back in early July, our parish celebrated St. Thomas and our faith community at the annual Celebrate! St. Thomas shin-dig. An awesome puppet show about Thomas the carpenter (he's not just a doubter!) was put on by the youth group, and true to form, we had one rehearsal right before we started the real thing. It's always a barrel of laughs and then some with this group. For some reason, we can't not laugh. If laughter isn't present when 2 or more of us are together, then something must surely be wrong. A few times yesterday, I was laughing so hard that I had to wipe tears from my eyes. The best part about it is that our youth minister, Melanie, was right along side us...quietly horse laughing as she puts it. That, my friends, is a great group of...friends.
After the puppet shows were over, we had a prayer service and skit about St. Thomas. "The Legend of Flat Thomas" was an opportunity for the parish to relive its own history, as well as get a few good laughs in. Actually, a lot of great laughs. It was also a time to thank Fr. Christian and to say hello to Fr. Tom and goodbye to Fr. David.
After that, I did a lot of mingling. I don't consider myself a social butterfly, but I did get around to talking to a lot of good people and friends. I really love this church and the people that make it such a great and loving community to be a part of. When my friends Alicia and Kim found out that Fr. David and Fr. Christian had disappeared (left) for the evening, we set off on a little adventure to find them. And find them we did. We didn't want to announce our presence until we were at the door to the rectory, but the neighbor's dog barked at us when Kim tried to call him over; it didn't help that Alicia and I were laughing and shushing the dog. FD and FC came walking out and weren't surprised to see us (at least I think). The only reason we came up here to see you, I explained, was because Alicia is leaving for college and won't see you for some time and she didn't get to say goodbye. And we weren't about to let that happen! After the "until next time" goodbyes and quite a few jokes, FD and FC left. As we walked down the driveway, Kim, Alicia, and I talked about how we have some really cool, awesome priests who are also good friends.
As we were walking to our cars (which happened to be in the same row), Kim, Alicia, and I ended up sitting on the curb just talking. It was nice, especially because Alicia and I are leaving for college within the next two weeks. Alicia is going down to Chattanooga, I'm staying in Knoxville, and Kim will be a senior in high school. It wasn't until I got home and read the reflection and thought about my day, that I truly realized how valuable my friends are. They are priceless blessings from God, and I'm thankful to have them in my life no matter how far apart we may be.
"Faithful friends are beyond price; no amount can balance their worth" -Sirach 6:15
Saintly words: "Friendship constitutes a country for those in exile, a fortune for the poor, a remedy for the sick, and a life for the dead. It provides pleasure for those who are well, strength for the weak, and a reward for the strong." -St. Augustine
Talking with God: Loving Father, grant me the great grace to form true Christian friendships. May my friends and I help one another to lead good lives and attain the happiness of those who serve You.