Old friends are great, so are new ones

By J. Hogan

-Gains and Gleanings-

Often we look back at seasons of our lives and the circle of friends we ran with then as the best ever. I certainly do anyway. Time and cherished memories have a way of painting nostalgia with a sheen of golden autumn light that both brightens and softens the picture. 


I’m finding that light exists in real time, too. I’ve been blessed to meet so many wonderful folks over the last few years, people who’ve been great to get to know, inspiring in many different ways, and most of them are folks capable of challenging my thinking, which helps me grow. 

Some of them are older than me, like my friend Wap Patterson, who’s nearly a quarter century older than me but has the energy of a 20-year-old. Wap pushes me and asks the right questions to get me involved where I might be missing something. 

Some are my age or thereabout, like Kevin Ward, who I get to see most days. He’s selfless to a fault, which keeps me on my toes. When I’m tired and willing to check out, seeing Kevin continue giving of himself inspires me.

Now that I’m on the downslope of life at 51, most of my new friends are younger than me. 

Some, like Caitlin at the paper, are quite a bit younger. She’s grown feisty in her role as the boss at the paper, but not in a bad way. She’s willing to push the crew and take the abuse that comes from publishing news. She’s grown into that, and it’s been great to watch her blossom.

I have some great newer friends I meet often for coffee (and I miss them during this time of COVID-19 isolation), and we usually spend more time than we have to spare laughing at some shop somewhere when we get together.

Others, like a guy I met just over the last few months named Jacob, are a bit closer to my age, but not by much. Jacob has been a big blessing to me and always willing to be open about things.. He's back on track in his life in following Christ and making real progress, which is alway rewarding for a pastor.

I admit that my vocation makes some of this quicker. Folks are either likely to hide themselves from a minister or spill themselves out, that weeds out some and bears out others pretty quickly.

I don’t cherish my older friends any less, but I’m learning if it’s true you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, he can at least get some great new folks in his life along the journey.

Stay safe and be well.

Rev. James Hogan is a native of Stowe Township and serves as pastor of Faithbridge Community Church in McKees Rocks.

May 28, 2020

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