It seems that saying “Goodbye” to great friends never gets easier. A few minutes ago, we pulled in front of the airport terminal in Roanoke (VA), where two great friends were dropping me off for my now-delayed flight to Atlanta (GA), where I still hope to catch another flight to Hartford (CT). It isn’t unusual for me to spend Mondays in airports and airplanes.
However, I am discovering in recent years especially that it is never easy to say “Goodbye” to good friends. Such was the case a few minutes ago here in Roanoke. Friends have come to mean so much more through the years to me.
Late Saturday evening … the night of the Spring-forward time change … my friend of twenty years, Mark Grooms, picked me up out front. We were both exhausted, so other than the non-stop conversation during the one-hour drive to his home east of Lynchburg, we quietly retreated to our bedrooms and collapsed for a short night’s sleep.
Mark and I talked away any hope of an afternoon nap, while his mother, Albertina Grooms, graciously listened to two Baptist preachers excitedly try to tell stories to each from decades of ministry experiences, especially as they related to two of our mutual mentors—Dr. John Rawlings and Dr. Jerry Falwell. Periodically, this wonderful octogenarian (who celebrates another birthday today) would inject a comment, then listen quietly as we continued.
Following the evening mission conference banquet at Thomas Terrace Church, and comfortably settling into the family room, Mar, his wife Renee, Albertina, and I returned to our conversations. Evening after the ladies had retired for the night, Mark and I kept talking until after midnight … but continued over morning coffee right where we’d left off only a few hours earlier.
Some 36 hours later, our time together was over. We’re saying and hugging our goodbyes, when someone said, “Let’s pretend like we’re young and know what we’re doing and take a selfie!” Mark took a better photograph than I captured on my phone, but any photo is good when great friends are saying “Goodbye!”
BTW, do you pray? If so, would you join me in praying for God to use TTBC’s “Regions Beyond” mission conference to impact many lives for eternity? I was only the keynote speaker to open their conference, but other ministry guests will do the main work throughout the week. Also, pray for my friend Albertina Grooms. This wonderful widow (her husband was J.O. Grooms of Treasure Path to Soul-Winning and other scripture-memory publication fame) continues to be a blessing and encouragement to all who become acquainted with her.
Well, they’re announcing flight DL4962, so I must adjourn for now. Cheers!