Every Christmas the church ladies congregated in the kitchen and gym and made Christmas candy. (A recipe I plan to share – come this holiday season.) We’d all bring sugar and corn syrup and flavoring (found only behind the counter at the pharmacist which kind of made you wonder what was in it).
And then two ladies would cook the candy and then pour it out on sugared, cookie sheets where we would wait for it to harden and then cut it. At the end of the long evening, we all had jars and jars of candy to take home.
Barb and I always offered to do the kitchen part. (The cutting part gives you blisters – truly. I’ve had them.)
So, this one year we got the brilliant idea of mixing up the colors and the flavors. We made the orange-flavored candy green, the cherry-flavored candy yellow. We did not have happy cutters. (Actually, it was a fairly interesting scientific experiment – how color affects our taste.) OK. It was kind of fun being a rebellious pastor’s wife for the evening, although I think some of the ladies thought I had committed the unpardonable sin. They were INTO their candy.
And then on the Sunday her oldest son graduated from high school, Ken resigned. (She never let Ken forget that.)
We had only lived in the same town for four years. She had only been out of the state of Michigan once, so to continue the friendship seemed futile. Our friendship didn’t have all THAT much of a base and the thought of traveling to Wisconsin was … well … not something she had thought much about before.
But we were willing to try.
More than 26 years later, we’re still close friends. We talk on the phone, we e-mail, we visit. No matter how long between contact – we start where we left off. Ken went back to marry her daughter (perform the ceremony that is), she and her husband – and daughter came to Kelli’s wedding.
When she heard Ken’s diagnosis, she called and wanted to know if I needed her to come over immediately. She and her husband and her daughter all made it to Ken’s memorial service.
This year when I said – “Well, my birthday is coming up and not sure what I’m going to do.”
“I’ll come,” she said and she did and we had a great time as always. (I was able to show her the Mississippi River for the first time – that was fun.)
God gave us the gift of friendship and what a valuable gift it is.
Yes, as pastors’ wives we need to treat those friendships with a delicacy we wouldn’t need to think about if we were the plumber’s or insurance man’s wife – but they’re worth having – and they’re worth keeping.
And remember, once you’re at another church – you’re no longer the pastor’s wife at the first church – so then you can … just be a friend.