Friday, 13 April 2012

Oh to be in England....

“Only the pure of heart can make a good soup”. Nino DeBarros, aged 11, quoting Beethoven whilst eating homemade soup I’d prepared for the arrival of the DeBarros family in England. This utterly charming, delightful quote set the tone for a grace-filled 10 days of fellowship with dear friends from across the pond – a few days with Elizabeth DeBarros and her family, followed by a few days with Teresa Cassle. How blessed can a person be?

We visited places with them we’ve never  made it to before in all our years of living in England – Stonehenge will never be referred to again by my lips as a “pile of old rocks” having actually stopped, walked around and breathed it in. No sight is as delightful to English eyes as seeing Americans feasting on fish ‘n’ chips in complete satisfaction in an English pub. Escorting our guests to some of our much loved local beauty spots means these places will now forever bring sweet memories with them whenever we return there.

A quiet moment at the graveside of Dear Mr Bunyan with Teresa brought a tear to my eye as I thought of how we have shared our love of John Bunyan’s writings over the past year or so online and now were actually sitting together, sharing our hope that one day we will be with him at the resurrection!  And we were so blessed to be able to stand in the church where Charles Spurgeon’s voice used to ring out with the proclamation of the gospel message thanks to a dear lady who specially opened up the church to Teresa and me when I explained how far Teresa had travelled to see it!

Yet much as it was a real pleasure and delight to visit so many places with our guests, what is firmly etched on my memory is the joy of simply being in the presence of dear friends with whom I have shared an online friendship, to be able to cook for them, to make them a cup of tea, to show them in simple ways the joy their friendship brings, and the esteem in which they are held.

Elizabeth DeBarros, me, and Teresa Cassle sharing afternoon tea at The Rubens Hotel, London

And I could not help thinking that these online friendships, given birth through blogs and Facebook, are a shadow of our relationship with Him. You certainly can communicate via blogs, Facebook and the telephone and know someone's heart through the written and spoken words you exchange. But that's like looking through a glass darkly compared to the unspoken words that are exchanged through looking into someone's eyes as you talk with them.

“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. 
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Cor 13:12).


  1. "But that's like looking through a glass darkly compared to the unspoken words that are exchanged through looking into someone's eyes as you talk with them." What a difference real eye contact makes, a real hug. Can you imaging meeting Jesus eye to eye and heart to heart on that fine day? We're only getting snippets of joy here, and we're overwhelmed! What will it be like then? Oh, my!

    Glad you've enjoyed your/our American friends!

    Love and blessings!

  2. What a lovely picture! I'm so glad you had such a great time together, Diana. I agree with Petra. If these shadows are a blessing, what will the reality be like?

  3. HOW DID I MISS THIS?? What a beautiful picture!! Love you all!