I got to spend a few days in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, from Saturday to Wednesday, June 23-27. It was great to visit with a number of old friends, most of them representing the three institutions that were most central to my time in Texas: Southern Methodist University, Hope Reformed Church (of blessed memory), and the Reformed Church in Plano. I had a number of deep, rich conversations with these dear people over a meal. Even though I now call each one a friend, in the past I have used other names to describe them: colleague, classmate, choir members, mentor, student.
Going there, I felt uncertain about my reasons for the trip. It seemed that I was wanting something, but I had trouble saying exactly what it was. I think that all I was wanting was to connect with this significant part of my life so I could understand better who I am now. Maybe I was wanting to feel that it hadn’t been a waste.
I lived in Dallas County for twelve years, about three times as long as I had expected to be there. During that time I experienced success, satisfaction, happiness, disappointment, and errors in judgment. I made many friends, and I lost a couple friends. I learned important lessons, some of which sure would have been good to know beforehand.
In visiting my friends, I received a great blessing from them. Although it is not easy to put into words, I think the blessing they gave me was this: that my time in North Texas was not a waste, nor a detour while I was on my way to where I am now. God had a purpose for me there, as God had a purpose for bringing these friends into my life. Even the church where I had given nine years of my life, a church that closed about 2 years after I left Texas, is likewise under that gracious blessing of “this is not wasted,” as God’s love, the peace of Christ Jesus, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit together converted and molded and, surely, continue to work in the lives of its former members.
And yes, yes, yes, it was very hot there. I walked around SMU’s campus during the worst of it on Monday and Tuesday. Even though it doesn’t look like it in this picture, it was probably about 105℉ at the time I took this shot:
I think the next time I visit should be some February.