The night before the funeral I sat in my mother-in-law's kitchen late into the night sipping drinks and eating peach crisp. I, accompanied by my mother-in-law, my father-in-law, my husband, and Pete.
We sat listening to the life stories of two friends.
Dean, Joel's grandfather, had a friend named Pete Lombardi.
Pete was from Brooklyn, New York. Dean grew up in small town Iowa. They met and became great friends while serving in WWII together, probably enlisting in their late teens. Pete recounted their first meeting as Dean saying, "Well, if you aren't from Brooklyn, I ain't fron Iowa." And boy was he right.
After serving together they each went their separate ways, but stayed close through the communication that they had. Each man married and started having children. Pete described it as a competition. When Dean had one child, Pete had one child. I guess this went on until each had 4 children. Pete's family would come out to see Dean's family on their farm in small town Iowa for vacation in the summer months and when Dean's family could, they went and saw Pete's family that now lived in Maryland and Florida. Pete and Dean were very different men. Pete was a business man, having many achievements and making some good money throughout his life. Dean was a farmer and painter, never having too much or an abundance of money.
Pete was schedule to come and visit Dean in the month to follow, but instead changed his ticket to attend his funeral. Pete was asked to share a tribute at the funeral and he did. He mentioned much of what I have written above, but also told us, in his east coast accent, that Dean talked to him often about Jesus. Dean emphasized the importance of family, the importance of Christ and being involved in your local church. Pete said that Dean had the largest impact on his life of anyone he knew.
These men were very different, separated by so much, but remained close friends for 65 years. Can you imagine being someone's friend for 65 years?
I never want to forget this clear picture of friendship. Through thick and then, good times and bad, they remained great friends. I don't know if I have remained friends with anyone for more than 5-6 years, let alone 65! Wow! What this means for my life, I don't know, but it remains a picture in my head. A picture of faithfulness, the joy found in knowing the in's and out's of someone else and they knowing the same about you. A picture of loving people when you don't want to and someone else loving you when it is equally as difficult. A picture of faithfulness.
I never want to forget these two reminders of faithfulness. The faithfulness of a wife and of a friend. I never want to forget these two pictures because they are rare. You don't go to every funeral and see this. These two relationships, not even kept together by the will's of two people, but of God.
Oh Lord, that I would remain faithful, for great is your faithfulness!