With Five Friends Afar
If we were having coffee right now, Laura, we’d both be in Spain. How cool is that! I would be gatecrashing your international conference and we’d be jealous for time together as we’d have so much to talk about. It’s been almost a year since you left Ireland to go back to the Sates with your family and it’s been hard going without you. I’d like to know how you are getting on in the day-to-day of your new role in your job as a returned missionary. I’d ask how your daughter’s wedding plans are getting on, I’d love to see photos of her dress on your phone. I’d be telling you about the exhibition I saw in the Wexford library today, I can’t pass that place without thinking about you. We’d be chatting about all sorts of art and book-related topics. You’d be wanting to hear about the ladies in the Bible study group and we’d be marvelling together in how God has answered prayers and transformed lives. We’d cry about the fact that we’d have to say goodbye. We’d laugh too – from the belly, like crazy things – few people make me laugh as hard you do.
If we were having coffee right now, Trudy, I would have to book time with you away from my eldest daughter who absolutely adores you. I would be telling you how tanned you are from your days in the Australian sun. I would be giving you letters and cards from my youngest daughter to yours who still goes by the title of her best friend. You would be telling me all about your work with the teens and how much they have matured in their faith and how it has been for them leaving a small town in Ireland to travel right across the world to be there with you. We’d talk about how cold it is in Ireland and the mad way how, when you used to lived here, you’d like to wear flip-flops just because the sun was shining. We would probably cry together too as we have done on our weakest days and we’d search the truths of scripture together.
If we were having coffee right now, Tania, we would lag lekker!! The coffee would be in the most stylish cups on a tray with some Woolies rusks and we’d be under the lapa by the pool. We’d be making braaibroodjies with, amongst other things, Melrose cheese spread and Bovril while the guys light the fire. You’d make amazing food you could win awards with (and have done) to go with the broodjies. I’d like to know how else you are putting your remarkable creativity to use and I’d be admiring the way you’ve put your unique stamp on your home. You’d be telling me about My Father’s House and the awesomeness of our awesome God and then we’d make more coffee. My cheeks would be hurting from all the laughing. I’m on holiday back in South Africa and I’ve just been spending time with family. You’d encourage me to go and take a nap and I’d be telling you that you are my oasis.
If we were having coffee right now, Robs, we’d be chatting like we’d only just seen each other yesterday. I’d be asking you all about your latest trip to the in-laws in Kilkenny. We would talk about our high school friends with whom we are still in touch and wonder whether we’d be getting together for the next reunion (30th in 3 year’s time!!) I’d love to see photos of how your London home is getting on with all the amazing revamping work you’ve done to it. We’d also chat about you and your husband’s church work in your neighbourhood. I’d probably be cooking the dinner too slow, thereby making both of us anxious as your ferry departure time draws perilously closer. You’d be telling me that you’d have been happy with scrambled eggs. It would take longer to find your kids and get them into the car than you expected and we’d say how much we’d love to have spent more time together. My family would eat the dessert after you had all left.
If we were having coffee right now, Maggs, how many years would we be catching up on? 2o or 21 maybe? I’d actually be trying to remember whether you like coffee as I seem to think you don’t, but I can’t remember. I’d finally get to meet the younger two of your three nearly grown up children and hear their voices. I’d love to see around your house, get to know your neighbours and see first hand what it’s like being a missionary in Senegal. I’d be telling you how amazed I am at the length of time you’ve been living there and how much I admire you. But you’d blush and be saying: “Don’t be silly, God can use anyone for his Kingdom’s sake, I don’t feel very great at all!” You’d be wearing something in a bright and flowery local fabric and you’d be smiling all the while. I’d like to hear you speak in Wolof. We’d talk about the time long ago when we used to work together and the lovely people we worked with. We’d talk about who they have married and how their children have grown. We’d pray for one another before we say goodbye.
Dear women, I miss you, I’m grateful to know you and I count myself privileged to call you my friends. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have you all over for coffee at the same time? Maybe one day…