I’d driven one of two routes to get from home to work for over 25 years and all of a sudden that routine trip was null and void for who knew how long. The nation was closed. I’ll admit, at first blush, I wasn’t unhappy about not needing to go down to a little shop that had lost its luster in the wake of the progress of time. Nevertheless, the closed door was disturbing, to say the least. Occasionally I’d drive down to our shop’s neighborhood and note that nothing was open, and no one was there and the contrast of what once was a community of no parking spaces and people spilling out of the restaurants to nothing but tumbleweeds bouncing down empty streets was eerily unsettling.
After a series of seemingly endless conversations with my husband, the decision was made that we would begin to move towards the goal of closing our doors and reconfiguring our business plans. I knew that exiting a glass blowing studio and gallery would be challenging, but really, I didn’t really know how challenging it would be until the time came to actually do it. How in the world would this happen? How does one undo a glassblowing studio? How does one liquidate an entire gallery filled with art glass? How does one undo 25 years of doing? And how does one seemingly do it alone?
Oh, let me cut to the chase. When I made the announcement my friends came out of the woodwork, like ants to a chocolate cake on a quilted blanket spread out on the floor of Pine Valley State Park. “What do you need?” “Name it Diane, I’ll be there and make it happen.” And over and over and over again, the offers came rolling in. And while it’s true that I’ve not yet turned in the keys from the old place and consecrated the new – I know enough to know that none of it could have happened without the dedication of beloved friends. Beloved friends. They come freely but they don’t come cheap – their value is accumulated over a period of time and it is almost always the results of what you have contributed towards them. Friends are an investment. And I might say, the best investment anyone could ever make. You’ll know the gems when you need the gems.
One other observation and really, the onus of this retrospection, is the reality of the presence of God through this personal journey. I knew from the get-go that I would need Him in the details. I knew the challenges would be great and I knew that I did not want to miss His glory. I stood alone in the silence of a neglected garage. There I was in the middle of the junk drawer room of our home. Stuff was piled as high as it could go and navigating my way over the floor was one foot in front of the other. Sometimes I felt like a mouse in a maze. This space was just as daunting as the shop. I had planned for a pick up from AMVETS and it was my sole responsibility to move all donatable goods from the garage to the driveway. Wouldn’t you know – the garage door would not open. So I had to hand-carry every item through the back door – one stack at a time. I prayed all the way through it. Some of the pieces were so heavy I didn’t think I’d be able to make the transaction without some residual pain or catastrophic drop– and yet, in the end, it all happened.
I’ve learned something in this squeeze. And this is it. Monumental problems allow us to praise God and celebrate the small things when we journey with Him. When all was said and done at the end of that AMVET move – I knew that the Lord was with me. I was not alone. He was there. And what could have been a lonely, foreboding experience was nothing more than an opportunity for Him to prove to me that forever He is faithful. I’m not kidding.
I stood alone in the emptying garage and wrote on a notebook paper the reality of His presence. It was in that dark, lonely move that I experienced God’s love in my life. He was there with me. I don’t always stop to recognize that – but that moment – I praised Him. And wept. What a friend we have in Jesus.
He’s with us freely but He doesn’t come cheap – His value is accumulated over a period of time and it is almost always the results of what you have contributed towards Him. Jesus is an investment. And I might say, the best investment anyone could ever make. You’ll know the gems when you need the gems. He’s the ultimate precious. He’s the ultimate, Beloved Friend.