One of the facets of my life that I find pretty embarrassing is just how many years go by between the time where I see friends. While I don’t have long absences out of any sort of hostility, unreasonable amounts of time go by before I see people I knew because of the rather scattered nature of my life and the fact that my travels tend to make my friendships more scattered and far flung rather than building on old times and making them stronger and deeper. At any rate, today I had the chance to wish a friend and her husband (who is a pretty cool guy) happy trails on their trip to Jordan where they will teach at a school. While there I got to chat with another husband and wife who are related to other friends of mine.
Among the subjects we talked about was a subject that comes up often in my conversations, for even if I am not the sort of person who is related by blood or marriage to a lot of the people I know, large families have played a very important role (and not always a pleasant one) in the course of my life. We had a funny time talking about the fact that in many congregations, sometimes large ones, just about every young person is a cousin of everyone else. In such circumstances it is a slight advantage, I suppose, to be new blood simply to add genes to a shallow gene pool that is in danger of resembling the Hapsburg family tree in another generation or two. Another common subject of conversation that is more applicable to my own existence is the travails of being single on the wrong side of 30 (a fact which has all kinds of ominous and unpleasant consequences for me at times). At any rate, it was very enjoyable to chat once I found the place.
That was by no means a straightforward matter. The bon voyage celebration took place at Willamette Park, which does not exactly have an abundance of either free parking or places for parties. I arrived a little bit early with some snackish food and I wandered around the park looking for someone I knew. After looking for more than half an hour, I eventually and shyly came upon a group of people at a couple of tables, and one of the people I barely knew (one of the hosts of the party) came up and let me know that I had come across the right party even though I didn’t know anyone who was there at the time. As it happened, it gave me the chance to meet a few of the local Cogwans, members of that fellowship who don’t have a personal grudge against me  thanks to the events of a couple of years ago documented faithfully on this particular blog and on forums across the wide internet, and my own rather fierce defense of my personal honor and dignity in those unpleasant times.
It is a bit ironic too that this friend and acquaintance of mine are joining a small group of loyal service-minded people in teaching at a school in an ostensible constitutional monarchy (not unlike my own experiences in Thailand). Of course, everyone wanted to know how I ended up in Portland, a story that I have had to tell far more than I would like, although it does rather demonstrate the sort of concerns I have in my life, whether one is dealing with my pen and the repercussions of my writings or my tragicomic efforts at courtship, both of which have drastically shaped my existence since I was a teenager and have largely followed a fairly consistent pattern since then. I’m not exactly sure why Gentile monarchies trying to put on a veneer of Westernization and culture would have been so friendly to HWA, though I imagine anti-Communist politics and a shared desire for acceptance within the larger culture of Western civilization had something to do with it, I suppose. At any rate, the consequences of those friendships still reverberate in my life and in the life of my peers of a similar servant mindset to me.
At any rate, the food was good, the conversation was great, and it was nice to get out and mix and mingle with peers for a couple of hours and help ease my social isolation with friendly company, even if I would have liked to have known more people there already, as it would have made for better opportunities to mix and mingle without having to be so outgoing with strangers. Still, there were enough friendly people that it was a pleasant soiree, and a chance to make at least a few new acquaintances who I would not have had the chance to see in my day-to-day existence. It is a good thing to catch up on friendships, and I wish it would have been possible to give some notice of my arrival before now, so as to catch up beforehand, if that were possible. As it was, I thought that I had been snubbed by others who simply did not know that I was around. Perhaps I am too shy about such matters.
As it happens, tonight I have to sleep a little bit earlier than usual because I am looking to attend a funeral tomorrow for the father of someone I knew back in my time in Los Angeles. It is a bit funny that in the same 24-hour period I am wishing someone well on a lengthy and hopefully exciting journey while also preparing to honor the family of someone who has recently died. Life is rather funny that way, I suppose. We are always on some sort of journey, until the moment when it reaches its abrupt end, and we await our next adventure when we awaken from the grave, hopefully to a life eternal with God and with our brothers and sisters in Christ. I hope that there are many more adventures, and a great more joy and happiness, before that time comes for me at least.
 As it happens, one of the people who had planned to go, the wife of the local Cogwa pastor, does have a personal grudge against me because of a play I wrote about a decade ago that she and others thought, falsely, was about her daughter. Such a personal grudge is lamentable, but it is understandable at least.