Fremont is a small, tidy town about an hour north of Grand Rapids, Michigan by car. For seven years I pastored a church there. The larger hospitals and four major Christian publishers were in Grand Rapids. There were Christian book outlets and large Christian used book stores there, too.
Frequently I needed to make the trip to Grand Rapids for a hospital call. During those years Chuk had a brand-new driver’s license in his pocket. He would volunteer to drive me. We would leave early in the morning while it was still dark. Chuk would drive. We would drive the familiar country roads over the Muskegon River, through Newaygo, Grant, Kent City, Sparta, and south. We would read the Scriptures together. We would pray. We would talk. We would listen to Christian radio. Sometimes I would read and Chuk would just silently drive.
When we arrived at the hospital I would get “valet privileges.” Chuk would drop me off at the door and whisk me away like a dignitary when I emerged from within the hospital. Then we would find a bagel shop or a coffee shop or get some frozen yogurt (conveniently located across the street from one of the finest Christian bookstores in the state).
If we had time we would browse the bookstore for bargains or ideas and then we would make our way back home. Those were sweet times. They knit our souls together and I believe they helped to knit our hearts to God.
I guess that is how you forge relationships. You help each other. You do things together. You start early. You acknowledge God. You minister comfort to others. You get your work done. You build-in some pleasure and fun. And years later, by the fire, on a winter night, you smile at the memory of it.
February 2, 2010