Research done by a social scientist at Harvard found after a nine year study with seven thousand people the most isolated people were three times more likely do die then those with strong relational connections.
I know, I know statistic can be wrong but I have to admit the one about "Twinkies and broccoli" is just too good not to believe...well, I want to believe it. (smiley face)
On a serious note: Through the years I have collected some of the most precious friends. Some dating back to my early years growing up playing kick the can in the streets of a small southern Illinois town. One friend in particular ALWAYS keeps me updated on those we grew up with, some who never left my home town, some like me, traveled afar.
Friends came and went as Ace and I moved several times due to his work. Louisville, Kentucky, bluegrass country was where the hounds of heaven caught up with both of us. I learned the value of, "what a friend we have in Jesus", He never leaves or forsakes us. (Hebrew 13:5-6) He was about to test my faith on this scripture as the moves began to stretch farther.
Next step was down south, Bolivia, South America, serving with New Tribes Mission. He went along for that seven year journey. Back to the states for a period, new friends sprinkled among old ones, He came along, never turning up missing as some of our luggage did, never to be found.
Again He swept us up, said, " buy another one way ticket", this time for the land of the unexpected, Papua New Guinea. We crossed several time zones, losing a whole day somewhere as we traveled HOURS to reach a place half way around the world. Whats an international date line to a God who formed the four corners of the universe?
Stepping off the plane in Madang, PNG waited a host of NEW FRIENDS to welcome us to a hot humid land. Ok God, I prayed as sweat poured, I can do this, YOU are here with me, YOU, who said hello to my dead soul 26 years ago, You, who I will never have to say goodbye to, You are my best traveling friend, easy to pack around in my heart.
Age and health has played a determining factor in God's direction for our life. We bought another one way ticket, said our goodbyes to this wealth of friends on that side of the sea after seven years. God had another location, another ministry for us. A few times through the traveling I have experienced some mild depression during heavy periods of testing. But I was not prepared for how much this move would tax my emotions and physically strength as we settled back into stateside living. I KNOW GOD KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT HE IS DOING... still I prayed, God please no more moves. All the hello's and goodbyes have caught up with me...no more please...let me just stay in the hills of Kentucky, rest my weary soul till you shout me home. My name is Betty Heavenly Father, not Sarai.
Ok, I can tell you are ahead of me on this one aren't you??? You know I did not need another test on "change" on being "flexible"... got that one nailed down. Silly me, He always wants to drive truth deeper in our hearts and what better stake then a "move".
So a little younger then Abraham and Sarai we packed our car and thank God it was not a camel. Drove across too many states to count loaded with our few meager belongings arriving at God's destination for us...California, new location, new ministry, still with New Tribes. Some old friends hosted us till we found a place. Then began the adventure of making new friends. I have to admit...I saw so much through depressed eyes those first months after we moved. These girls must have seen my Twinkie heart buried underneath for the picture at the top was a pot luck meal to close out our bible study for the summer. It matter not what the desert was that evening...the fellowship was Twinkies all the way.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
Got a twinkle friend or friends, encouraged them today.