Someone once told me that everyone has two families – the one they belong to and the one they choose. No matter whether or not you like your parents or siblings or even your inlaws, they are still your family and you love them no matter what. Then there is your family of choice – those certain special people in your life that you can’t really just call friends because they are so much more than that.
Today I’m really, really happy because I got to go to lunch with a member of my chosen family that I haven’t seen for far too long. He came to pastor the church my parents and I attended when I was only 12. He asked the congregation to call him Pastor Joe. My parents weren’t too sure about the whole calling-the-pastor-by-his-first-name thing, so they tried to get us to call him Pastor Gresham, which sounded weird to us as no one else called him that. So in our house he was simply known as The Pastor, always capitalized.
The Pastor became my mentor of sorts, and when we were seen together, people often assumed I was his daughter. He loved to write, and I loved to read. He gave me a manuscript once to look at, and when I gave it back all marked up, we started a writer/proofreader relationship that continues to this day.
So when The Pastor emailed me a month ago and said we should have lunch sometime, I thought it a good idea but soon forgot. Then he called me last week and mentioned the idea again. I was determined to make it happen. We keep in touch through email, text, and phone calls, but we hadn’t actually seen each other for about nine years. We made plans and I looked forward to the chosen day.
The day before I was a bit apprehensive – so much time had passed and I didn’t know if we would even recognize each other. Silly of me, I know. But when we got to the restaurant today, and I saw The Pastor standing on the steps, there was no mistaking him. If I hadn’t been a grown-up mother carrying her daughter I would have squealed and run across the parking lot. We were both older, of course, and rounder, and I had two kids he had never met, but we got along fantastically.
We talked of the past, and the present, and caught up on the people we knew in common. The kids behaved surprisingly well but insisted on calling The Pastor “Pastor Job.” Of course he was calling Arya “George” so I guess he deserved it.
We sat at the table for two hours, neither of us wanting to leave. Finally we got up and walked outside. Trip tried to take our picture and got an excellent one of our knees. A random lady entering the restaurant was hailed upon, and not surprisingly did a much better job. We continued to talk until Trip announced in no uncertain terms, “Mommy, my poop is going to come out RIGHT NOW.” So we parted laughing.
There’s a lot of life lessons I could illustrate from this story, like not putting off visiting friends, or how joyful the reunion in heaven is going to be, but I’ll let you figure out that part for yourself. I’m smiling and still have a warm, fuzzy feeling. So I’m going to just go be happy for a while.