As Penned by Donna Fiala
So many of us are fortunate (lucky) to have supportive friends and family. I am extremely blessed to have both, and I treasure them! Without them, life would be different, and in my opinion, very empty. But sometimes that emptiness of family can’t be avoided, so we can go out and fill that emptiness with friends who are also loving and caring it fills that empty spot in our hearts and lives.
This past year I don’t know what I would have managed without my supportive family! And I never forget to thank God for his blessings! But if you have no family here in town or close by, you can try to fill that empty spot with friends who are loving and want to be a part of a “unit” of caring and fun and happiness. I already had my family, but along the way I found wonderful people I call friends, and I feel blessed whenever we spend time together!
Though my wonderful friends can never take the place of family, they sure can fill my life with laughter and fun and be there when I need advice or another opinion, or someone to go to lunch or dinner with. What would we do without friends???? Life would be very different.
At church this week, I had church friends spread their happiness amongst all of us! People looking after others, and with doing that, you become family. Vern & Sharon swoop right in with a protective feeling to those in the church, so do Bonnie and Bonnie and Pastor Ed – oh gosh, I’d better not name people because I don’t have enough room to name all the loving caring people that are amongst us, and then we gather after the service and have coffee and treats that give the congregation a feeling of togetherness and family.
Even the little children are a part of things.
Yes, I’m talking about Lely Presbyterian Church. It’s like a welcoming home to all of us! Our minister had just retired from the Military, and this church needed a minister, so he chose us. It was a very small congregation. He was there just about two weeks when I read about the church with a retired military officer taking over, and as most of you know, I’ll always support Veterans, so I decided to drop in. I had, over the years, gone to the church, but moved on.
When I got to the church that first morning a little over a year ago, I walked into a very empty church in about April of 2021. I’m guessing about 15 people were there. All older folks. No choir. No children or young adults. But those that were there were friendly, and the Minister’s message was powerful!
As a Veteran, he knew what he was talking about! I decided to go back the next week because I was intrigued with his message and the gentle, friendly people in the congregation. Well, that next week there must have been at least 25 people. The following week it was about 50 people. The following week even more people came, but now they had formed a little choir! Wow! That happened quickly!
Within a few weeks, younger people started to attend, then later, younger people with babies showed up. It was amazing watching the success each week! The choir grew larger, and the church had to offer two services with choir music on Sundays! It was like watching poetry in motion!
Then the Men’s bible study started, the Women’s bible study started, the once a month the ladies’ luncheons at a restaurant in the area and men’s luncheon at another restaurant. You really get to know each other as friends because you can’t talk as much on Sunday’s but at luncheons you can. With that we started reaching out to other parts of the community to see if help was needed in some areas. There’s a lot going on at that church and help that comes from the people in the church for others.
Well, here it comes! “Season” is about to begin, the holiday’s will be celebrated, many people have moved to our area over the last year. As our Winter residents return, their neighborhoods will have changed a little, with new people, others in charge, new buildings and housing, new businesses. Our world is changing as we know it.
So, to those who are moving back, or coming back from their summer vacations, it’s good to have you back. Hopefully you’ll see some new businesses that we’ve needed. I’m waiting for the Dairy Queen to come. Some new restaurants have begun, but then things have changed also because of the hurricanes we’ve had. The poor folks in Ft. Myer’s have really taken a hit, so some will have a lot of repairs and replacing to take care of. But we can handle it! We still live in a paradise, no matter what you say!