Of late, several seemingly unrelated conversations have circled about this thought. It’s the idea of connection, and how connection releases happiness: the sense of merriment at God’s hand at work in and around and through us. For example:
A dear friend, who has served my child well, is taking a position far from us. Far in miles, but close to my heart. He asked me if I was familiar with Brunswick, Georgia, he knows I am a Georgian. I smiled my yes, as leaves of lives turned like pages in my mind. There were names and images of friends who served cake as I wed, snapshots of me and student council camp buddies, and movies of midnight grocery runs across the causeway and that smell that strangles, and yet, somehow cures me of everything that has ever gone wrong.
I think of a place where so often, everything went right. I think of hands that I held walking the beach against the wind and the names of people who sacrificed for me, that I have never met, to find and hold those hands. I think of roasted oysters and a round of golf with a man who won the US Open. I think of retreats at Epworth and slow strolls about Wesley’s first church and those great oaks with arms so embracing. I think of the night we, Marion and I, stayed with her mama’s cool, artist friend in this renovated old cottage, decorated fantastically with funky art. I can remember countless drives to those Golden Isles, be it Jekyll or St. Simons or even Sea Island, and the airport on my left and the Holiday Inn on my right, that confirmed our arrival.
Brunswick was the last of real life before one entered the Forever of those isles.
I can still feel the wind one muggy, muggy summer night, in the parking lot of “the” grocery store near the causeway. I can smell the brackish water and the paper mill and the grape Slushie that I carried.
Do I know Brunswick, where many of my dearest friends were born and many more born anew? Yeah, I know Brunswick.