That old saying, “Life happens and then…” does not describe life in its complexity. It’s the “happens” part, with all the pauses that are triggered by the joys and the thorns, that make up a life lived.

My life, and that of many of my friends from high school, has been happening for forty years. Some have stayed in touch with each other, while others, like me have been busy in my own happening phase, allowing our friendships to pause. Social media, specifically Facebook, changed that.

This year I reconnected with several of those friends and a most amazing “pause” in the happening lives of two of those friends, Kay and Barry, restarted at the 40th high school reunion. This reconnection resulted in their marriage on March 30, 2014, creating clarity around the fact that those life pauses can indeed restart.

As I walked into the chapel, a very lovely lady, with the most beautiful long white hair, paused and said, “Linda?”

I looked at her and she said, “You don’t remember me do you?”

I looked at her beautiful smile that began at her mouth, traveled up and sparkled right out of her eyes at me, and before I could answer she said, “I’m Rosemary.”

The memory of her smile and sparkly eyes enveloped me in unexpected warmth. We hugged; she linked arms with me and said, “Come sit with me.” The pause fell away as we couldn’t stop talking and I admitted I was envious of her beautiful God given hair as I continued to spend far too much money keeping mine a mystery.

Then I received a welcome from Bryce, and he is still “funny after all these years.” In spite of a life changing event when he was struck by a train – leaving him with some physical changes, his spirit was intact and his perseverance is, no doubt, what miracles are made from. As I listened to his stories it was clear that his faith was strong because it never occurred to him that it should not be. I so hope to hear more of his funny stories and have a cup of his famous bottomless coffee again soon.

Then there was Judy, friends from middle school through high school. Judy was gentle, and still, well, Judy. There was comfort in knowing that she had remained true to the person she was and is still. Hers is strength of character that not many of us can claim, through all of the pauses life throws our way.

I will never forget the bear hug from Steve (a subject of a previous blog). Meeting his wife Jan, for the first time, I was struck by her expressive eyes, where the soul of a caring person was housed. Their agape love is shared with everyone around them, yet I don’t think they realize that fact because that is their being, without effort. They own a barbeque restaurant and Steve roared with pleasure as he recited their motto, “For a Little Taste of Heaven Get BBQ from Hale!” This is their last name and his description of their brisket made my mouth water. I’m looking forward to checking out that claim on my next visit!

Chip arrived, wearing cowboy hat and cowboy boots, not for the wedding theme, he is a cowboy, horses and all. Chip, who had driven my school bus gave me a hug and introduced me to Donna, his fiancé. I paused as Chip asked me about my brother who he remembered from those long ago days, who had been very sick even then. I was touched by the sensitivity of this “cowboy” and Donna assured me my mascara wasn’t running – the right lady for this cowboy.

Mic, now Pastor Mic, is the same friend I remembered in high school, i.e. open, respectful, and honoring the path each person walks. As we caught up on these past forty years, it was clear that his life was built on and graced by faith in and from God. He had a tremendous impact on me that day as he talked about the beauty in this world of colors that God has given to us to enjoy. “God didn’t need to create colors for himself,” Mic said. “He did it for us. He wanted us to enjoy the colors of nature, the color of hair, skin, eyes of people, the colors of sunrises and sunsets…all for us to rejoice in…this reminder that He wants us to be happy.”

Mic’s remarks made me pause and in the pause my own gray fog lifted a bit more as I gazed around at the beauty that had been there all along as life happened while I had remained in pause. I gave thanks for every life moment, even sad ones, with Mic’s gentle reminder that there is still beauty by accepting God’s reminder that He is with us all the time and has a plan for a purposeful life for all who want it.

The wedding was a western theme, encompassing all that was exciting to Kay and Barry, especially their children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, and cousins celebrating this special day with them. Even a few of us old high school friends were there; forty years ago this day wasn’t even a thought.

Yet, here we were, hugging, chatting, laughing and playing the “remember when” game as Kay and Barry took their vows, both glowing with a quiet happiness. We were fortunate enough to witness this special time, and we were also fortunate as we took our friendship off pause.

Kay and Barry, such good individual friends in high school, now a single friendship in a match made in heaven according to God’s plan, to better this world by nurturing each other and all those around them — giving and receiving “love sparklers” in life’s good pauses and in life’s difficult pauses.

“When we recognize
the Divine Presence everywhere,
then we know
That It responds to us
and that
There is a Law of Good,
a Law of Love,
forever giving of itself to us.”
                                                     Ernest Holmes
Kay and Barry, it is clear that His Divine Presence was in attendance on your wedding day. How good is that?