We were childhood friends, and did everything together. There were football games, swim team, school activities, dances, movies and getting into trouble. We majored in getting into trouble, it was a special skill set we developed at a doctoral level in our youth. Greg Larson was my buddy then, and he and his wife, Diane Larson are our buddies now. Pam and I had a beautiful time with them during their visit to Tennessee.

It was the first time in years we got to spend quality time together, getting to know about each other in more depth. As children and adolescents, you really only know each other on a “what you see is what you get“ basis, but for many, there were deeper, familial issues going on just below the surface. Some problems we knew about, but it was too personal to tell anyone.. .so we didn’t. And there was also disfunction we didn’t realize was going on until later in life. We shared some of those realities and difficulties we experienced growing up, as well as the joy and abundance with which we are now blessed. God and time heals.

These are two very bright and caring hearts. I learned so many interesting things from both of them. They are leaders in their respective areas and it is a rich experience to be in their company.

They came to church with us and spent time together in our home. The next day, Pam and Diane visited historic Franklin and the Carnton House, which of course included perusing the downtown shops (i.e. buying stuff). While Greg was in his final day of meetings at the Opryland hotel, Pam, Diane and I had brunch at the iconic Pancake Pantry and afterwards, toured the Capitol of Tennessee. Diane, a North Dakota state senator, got a picture with Tennessee secretary of state, Tre Hargett.

We picked up from where we left off in life….Didn’t skip a beat.

Debbie Smith wrote these lines to the music of her husband, Michael W. Smith for his recording entitled, “Friends”…

“friends are friends forever

If the Lord’s the Lord of them

And a friend will not say never

‘Cause the welcome will not end

Though it’s hard to let you go

In the Father’s hands we know

That a lifetime’s not too long

To live as friends.”

I know these words are true….they are beautiful words.

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