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photo: Martha G. Brady


This has been a month of returning for me. Delightful returning.

My first return was to a place I left 50 years ago…when I graduated!

Early in May was a 50th class reunion in Philadelphia of my nursing class. It is the kind of program that no longer exists…the 3 year diploma program. It was perfect for me! We worked on the floors almost like regular nurses with patients we knew how to care for but after the first year, functioned almost like regular nurses, calling on our instructors for supervision when we needed to pass on a certain procedure.

This has been a month of returning for me. Delightful returning. Share on X

We all lived in a nursing residence next to the hospital with rather strict rules for that time (1968). By our senior year, nursing education was changing a lot and we had all our weekends off. It was pretty fun! We had a taste of real life nursing. It was fun to be off for that year.

Many of us had not been back for any reunions for a variety of reasons. stop This was by far, the best turnout ever. We had a class of 55 who graduated. 5 died. 75% of us made it to the reunion. It was set up perfect for all of us. The first part, and best attended, was at the home of one of the organizers from 2 pm to 7 pm. It wasn’t a party per se. We just sat at tables and caught up with each other. No spouses. Just us and buffet food. There was a little structure, but not much…just enough!

As with any group, we were not all equally close. We lived on 3 different floors in the residence our first year and most of our good friends came from that group and the ones we were alphabetically in groups with as we moved through specialties. But at the reunion, we all felt very close…we had survived our training AND 50 years as well! I was suddenly “Cricket” again. It was fun!

The second day we visited the hospital…you can imagine the changes 50 years have brought!

The second day, we went into Philadelphia to our hospital for the alumni meeting…or part of it. I’m glad I wasn’t driving! The hospital is now Penn-Presbyterian Hospital. It is now surrounded by tall buildings. All around are medical centers and University of PA has fully bled over to the area as well!

The weather was beautiful while we were there and the weekend flew. The return was to a time 50 years ago…yet I am still that person in so many ways! I’m older and wiser, but I’m still Cricket.

My second return was with Ron this past weekend, visiting many old friends at a wedding.

This past weekend, Ron and I returned again. We traveled to an intermediate point between our home now and the place we lived for over 20 years. Most of that time, we served a church in Tyler, TX. We have been unable to get back since we moved away in 2013. But this wedding last weekend in Jackson, MS gave us a chance to see many old friends from Tyler.

It was delightful as many of us stayed at the same hotel and had long visits at breakfast, as well as during the day, catching up on what has been happening in the past few years…and what that’s meant to us. The reception was much the same. It was quite delightful. Since it was held at the same hotel, many of us stayed out on the terrace and visited rather late to catch up more. Of course, I still came away wanting to know more, but for the most part, I felt caught up with so many friends.

So whether your returning is good and happy, difficult or more likely, a mix, embrace it. These returns are good for us. They show us parts of ourselves we need to see. And they show us GOD's grace even more! Share on X

Returning is, for the most part, a joy as you see your friends and their children growing and walking with GOD…or not! And there is the sad part of returning. Parts of a story have made a bad turn. It is sad. Or you see a reflection of yourself from a prior time that you didn’t want to see. The grace of GOD is bigger than all of it. He is big enough to continue working in a person’s life who is wayward right now. He has been large enough to work in you from that day to this and change you as well!

I was reminded this past weekend of help I had given that was long forgotten. That is always encouraging when someone tells you about a word you said that was helpful or something you did that encouraged. I don’t always know what helped or didn’t. My memories tend to be more toward the negative side and what I contributed. Two people also encouraged me on my very slow writing journey. They are writers too. I found that to be encouraging as well.

God’s grace is ever present…in the good, sad and mixed. He keeps us in the middle of all of it!

So whether your returning is good and happy, difficult or more likely, a mix, embrace it. These returns are good for us. They show us parts of ourselves we need to see and may have forgotten. And they show us GOD’s grace even more!

I see how gracious He has been to me over the many years I have been walking with Him and how well He has held me in His hand…even when my faithfulness was not what I would have liked.

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
  “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
  when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
  For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
  I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
  Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
  I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
  Fear not, for I am with you; …”

Isaiah 43:1-5

**This is the word for today’s Five Minute Friday. It is a group that writes for five minutes…as you can see, I sometimes go longer! No editing or cleaning it up. (I’m sorry, I have to correct misspellings!)