Note: Donna Cronk recently shared her guest blog, Friendship is One of Life’s Sweet Places. This was my guest post on Donna’s blog to share my perspective on our unique connections. Thank you Donna for a friendship that continues to grow and entangle our lives and hearts!
Connections are our sense of belonging. We have connections from our tight-knit circles to ever-expanding circles that eventually connect us with people throughout the world. A week ago, I was invited to spend time with one of my Indiana connections: Donna Cronk.
Donna was launching the “book tour” for her sequel, That Sweet Place: At Home in the Heartland. The venue was the aftercare group at the local funeral home in New Castle, Indiana. Witnessing her connections prompted me to reflect on our connection through the years.
I trace our connection back to our boys growing up together in the same school district, playing on the same sports teams, and living on the same street. We were friendly neighbors busy with life. Donna likes to remind me that Carriage Lane was not the place where we first met. Over 26 years ago, we were in the same Sunday school class at the same local church.
In a way, our connection has also been a journey of faith where God kept putting us together for a reason. God eventually revealed the reason a couple of years ago, when we shared our mutual desire to self-publish a book. In practice, the enduring connection has been our shared love of writing.
Writing was natural for Donna as she went to college for journalism and has been a community journalist for over 27 years in one Indiana town and county. Writing was never on my radar given my engineering background with its focus on numbers and logic. I was the stereotypical engineer. I never aspired to be a writer and I did not care about writing, other than what was necessary to complete an assignment.
Hence the surprise when shortly after I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in 1994, God prompted me to write. God was very specific. I was to write devotions for our church’s monthly newsletter. When I approached my pastor, Dick said “Yes” and allowed God to use me. Pastor Dick’s encouragement enabled me to “blossom where I was planted!”
Donna’s recently published book was the day’s connection for the crowd that attended her new presentation. As I was introduced to people, I asked, “So how do you know Donna?” Some connections were common to all of us: work-related circles with both current and former co-workers. Other connections were more specific to the book: editors, reviewers, fellow self-published authors, and readers who wanted to know what happened next in the Sweetland story. It was a friendly crowd with people Donna knew and friends of friends that became part of Donna’s new connections.
Donna shared her presentation, “Bloom Before You Are Planted!” Her message reminded us that God has good plans for each one of us. The deeper take-away involved self-reflection. Am I paying attention to God’s nudges? Will I act on the seeds that God plants in my heart? Do I embrace God’s joy for my growth? Will I praise God for His beauty inside of me, waiting to bloom in the perfect season?
After Donna’s program, she and I enjoyed our unique connection by simply sitting and chatting for hours. We covered much territory, revisiting old connections and discovering new connections. Finally, it was time to walk out to our cars and say goodbye for the day.
That’s when I remembered my family cookbook that made the trip with me. Over the previous six-and-a-half hours, I had completely forgotten about the cookbook I wanted to share with Donna. Conversations about family, recipes, memories, and traditions are some of our favorite connections.
I was struck once again by the nature of genuine connections. The time goes by too quickly and we are left with a longing for the next visit. The best connections always explore the nuances of life and entangle hearts!
2 John 12
I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.