You Just Have to Dance

Anything can bring about the urge:  The birth of your daughter, the special honor at work, or maybe a beautiful spring day after a long, cold winter.  Perhaps you felt it when you graduated from high school or finished your college career.  It might have happened when you met the love of your life.  It could have been losing those first 10 pounds, giving up a bad habit, or getting that perfect job.

Whatever it is, there are times you just have to dance.

It’s possible that today could be one of those days when you hear the music deep in your bones.  Your heart will fall into rhythm.  Your spirit will soar!  So, kick off your shoes.  Bounce your head just a bit.  Strike a pose.  Turn up the stereo and let it all go.

Trust me.  It will be good for your soul!

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26 years and counting…

Moving to Wilmore, Kentucky in 1987 brought about some change for the new Austin Family.  Anita was a Registered Nurse for the first time, I started Seminary and we met Lynn and Wendy Lewis.  This was in the days before children and we were younger and life was more simple.

26 years have passed since that first meeting.  Over that time we have enjoyed seeing one another during an occasional summer vacation or family trip.  Facebook has offered a renewed connection, but it’s been more than thirteen years since we’ve been face-to-face and enjoyed one another and comfort that comes from like-minded friends.

The Lewis Family are wonderful people and I’m happy to call them friends.  Lynn is a brilliant man who dreams big dreams and trusts that God will make them reality in their perfect time.  Wendy is a passionate defender of the downhearted and her beautiful children.

Imagine my joy when I learned that they live less than 20 minutes from our hotel room here in Houston.  The opportunity to spend time with the dear ones was too much to pass up.  Saturday supper, Easter morning church and a wonderful Sunday Lunch were welcome opportunities to celebrate our nearly three-decades of friendship, catch up on life’s journey and reminisce about old times.

Despite the fact that they are from the deep south and we are cold northerners, we still love deeply.  Although Wendy is a died-in-the-wool conservative and I’m a Obama-lovin’ Democrat, we can tolerate time together at the same table.  When we are together, these things no longer matter.  All that matters is our love for one another.

Our long-standing friendship has stood against the test of time and when we see one another we exchange tight hugs, laugh easily and often, and occasionally shed tears of sorrow or joy.

The trip to Houston has been worth every mile traveled, if for no other reason than the opportunity to share moments with friends like these.

For Old Lang Syne

Our good friends, Dave and Lora at our home in Muncie, circa 1992
Our good friends, Dave and Delora at our home in Muncie, circa 1992. Unfortunately, this picture was ruined by light and time.

Dave and I attended seminary together and became good friends during our studies (actually, Dave studied and I didn’t-so-much).  We were ordained Deacon together, ordained Elder together. Our families celebrated the birth of nearly all our children, the graduation of a few and we will no doubt attend a wedding or two in days to come.  We’ve mourned with one another during family illness and deaths and we’ve shared the joys that come from great accomplishments in our own lives and the lives of our children.

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A picture taken September 2009.

Over the years we made it a tradition, despite distance and busy schedules, to gather our families during the summer months (if possible) and always during the New Year  Holiday.

This year was no exception.  While we were not able to spend the last night of the year with one another, as is our tradition, we were able to enjoy their company this past weekend.  While Dave and I watched football, the kids watched movies and played video games, and the women did what women do (whatever that is). We did our obligatory puzzle and at one point, we all gathered together to play a great game called “Fishbowl”.  And we all laughed until we were in tears.

Dave and Delora, Anita and Curt pose for another fun picture.
Dave and Delora, Anita and Curt pose for a last fun picture for 2012.

As they packed their luggage and pillows for their drive home, we stopped to take pictures and give hugs.  All too soon they were back on the road and our home was quiet again.

For some reason the song, Old Lang Syne kept ringing in my ears the entire weekend.  Every time I thought about our friendship, I thought of that song.  And so I did some in-depth research (which means I went to Wikipedia).  I’m glad I did.  I now like the song more than I did before and truly appreciate its meaning as it relates to our friends and our New Years’ tradition of gathering together.

The words of the song ring true:  Despite years of friendship, miles of separation, joy and hardship, we should never forget our friends of old.  These who have walked with us along the journey, shaped our spirits, molded our souls with their love and care will never be forgotten.  And I lift a cup to them, their love, and our future together.

Thank God for these wonderful friends of old lang syne.

OLD LANG SYNE

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

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