Let me tell you a story about my (new) dear friends Robert and Ollie.
In the first few years when I was first surviving the immediate aftermath of my divorce leading into the world wide pandemic,
I made the decision to move back home with my Mom who was lonely after Dad passed to provide some company for her, AND to save up some money for a down payment on a home for myself.
Once I was ready to begin looking for a home, I had to consider my budget in order to maintain financial peace as the high priority it is in my life.
While looking for my sanctuary, I found a predominantly black neighborhood where I experienced several "signs" that were calling me home to this simple life where I feel safe, comfortable, mutally respected, and even loved, in my little "hood."
Since purchasing this home (taking on a mortgage payment within my budget) I have remarried, and am now blessed with a Christ-Centered marriage.
Our beloved neighborhood includes a community pool-- another provision for which I am extremely grateful!
Most mornings like clockwork, the same community members arrive either at the opening time or shortly thereafter.
I am beginning to love my neighbors [Breakfast Club] who consistently "suit up and show up" to maintain our healthy minds, bodies, and souls.
The first person I met was Diane, an elderly retired lady who gives me many legitimate reasons to hold onto HOPE, and look forward to retirement someday!
Next came Ollie and Robert, who exercise the same routine almost every single morning. Robert walks laps around the pool, while Ollie swims. They look and act as though they've been married well over 40 years, faithfully synchronized in their healthy habits and filled with Holy Spirit JOY!
I have yet to ask them how long they've been married, but I plan to incorporate that into one of our morning chats soon and very soon.
The main thing I wanted to share with you in this particular post is THIS...
Each morning I see them now, Ollie says something incredibly kind to me that includes "Baby" at the end of the statement. If you're like me, than you can hear in your mind exactly the warm way an elderly (grandmotherly type) black woman utters the word "Baby" to her child or grandchild.
Just thinking about it almost makes me burst out in tears of love and joyful laughter, filled with a similar type of JOY that burying myself in fresh, warm, cozy, fragrant laundry (pictured above) evokes in my soul.
Truth is I've only had a few conversations with Ms. Ollie so far... but she makes me feel loved and appreciated; and I hope and pray that I do the same for her as well.
Related to the morning pool people topic, there has been another recent addition to our "Breakfast Club."
His name is Mike. My reason for sharing this gentleman with you is for the purposes of lessons learned and enforcing healthy boundaries in my life.
Mike is a super nice guy who swims each morning for a lot of the same reasons I do... mainly to improve and maintain our health.
At this time, I am not at all concerned about the appropriateness of our "relationship" as fellow swimmers encouraging one another to "Just keep Swimming" in the famous words of Dory, the Royal Blue Tang fish in Disney's "Finding Nemo."
However, I know that I need to communicate these meetings (innocuous as they may be) with my NOW husband, openly and honestly.
Even more importantly I choose and MUST continue to take certain steps to maintain and strenghthen my marriage on a daily basis;
so the enemy can't creep in and attempt to sabotage our marriage by enticing me to play the comparison game.
This is precisely why my husband and I continue to
1) read our couples devotionals together at least weekly on Wednesday nights and other Bible readings and devotionals daily,
2) have regular open and honest discussions about what we are experiencing in our lives professionally and personally,
and 3) pray together multiple times a day.
In the end, Niel and I may not have the opportunity to be married for as many years as Ollie and Robert (my Dad's beloved name by the way)-- only because we got started much later in life; but I can only hope we age together as happy and healthy as these two beautiful, wonderful role-models.