Connections by Jeff Nickloy

Connections by Jeff Nickloy

Sandra and I were headed home on a flight from Paris to Philadelphia, with connections to Detroit and Indy.  Three seats on our side of the plane.  A young lady from Romania sat in the window seat.  It was the start of a friendship that has lasted for 6 years.  More about that later.

We all learn the importance of connections at an early age.  The vacuum needs to be connected to the electrical outlet.  The quarterback connects with the wide receiver on a long throw.  Friends “connect-up” (what then would be “connect-down?) at Starbucks for coffee.  There is power in the connection.

The Story, which so many of us studied last year, told of God’s seemingly unending efforts to reconnect with his people.  Over and over the people broke that connection, despite warnings of the consequences, and the experience of the advantages a close connection with God can bring.  The world famous Sistine Chapel depicts the image of God reaching out his righthand to connect with Man.  And it is our tradition to connect with one another on Sundays as we stand and greet those around us and again, as we hold hands during the benediction.

It is undeniable that we draw strength from our connections with one another.  It is a truth our participation at worship and our common behavior reinforces over and over.  Anyone can think of endless examples.

The curious thing is that we often don’t look for those connections when the opportunity arises.  But sometimes “magic” seems to happen and “POOF” an unexpected connection is made.  And that brings me back to the flight to Philadelphia.

This is Silvi Anna Onesi sitting next to Sandra on the way to Philadephia.  We had a wonderful time visiting with her on our flight.  We learned that she had a PhD. in metallurgy and worked at the University in Luevan, Belgium.  We learned that she was engaged to Yannis Pontikas, of Heraklion, Greece and that she was to be married that summer.  Our connection with Silvi was so immediate that while in flight she invited us to her wedding on the island of Crete!

We couldn’t make it to the wedding, so Silvi sent us the video.  But the story goes on from here.  By e-mail we have sustained our connection, and when I finally opened a Facebook account it grew even stronger.   We’ve followed Silvi and Yannis through their wedding, their early married life together the birth of their son last summer.  Silvi’s willingness to make a connection has been a blessing to Sandra and me.

There is a bridge over the Rhine River in Colonge, Germany where couples go to display their permanent commitment to one another by attaching a padlock to the bridge, inscribed with their names, and then tossing the key into the river.  In that way, they announce their connection to one another.   Visible from the bridge is the Cathedral of Koln (Cologne), which is the second highest in Europe, built over many centuries and miraculously escaping the bombing of the adjacent rail yards in the Second World War.  It reaches toward heaven as of trying to connect with God, just as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome depicts God reaching to connect with man.

One final example involves our friends Reg and Jan Rich from Surrey, England.  We met them on a riverboat trip as they sat at a far-corner table trying to avoid contact with the other passengers (we weren’t aware of their goal).   We just crashed their private party and sat down to join them for breakfast.  Ten days later, Jan and Reg were driving us all over Surrey, showing us the sights, including a 700-year-old church with a list of rectors going back to 1392.   Another connection we continue with pictures, cards and email.

So, my “take” on all of this is pretty simple.  We are meant to be connected.  We are happier and more empowered when we are connected to each other and to God.  And we get opportunities to connect every Sunday and at the most unexpected times and in the most unexpected places.

 

Jeff and Sandra Nickloy have been members of FPC Noblesville for 40 years.   They met in 1971 while Jeff was studying law at Duke University.  After completing his service as a Navy JAG officer Jeff and Sandra moved to Noblesville, where they raised their 3 children, who now live in Noblesville and Westfield, along with 6 grandchildren and a wide assortment of pets.  Jeff is the senior partner of Nickloy & Higdon, a local general practice law firm where he works “almost full time”.  Jeff and Sandra enjoy time with family and friends, volunteer work, traveling and spending time in Sandy’s home state of South Carolina.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a bridge over the Rhine River in Colonge, Germany where couples go to display their permanent commitment to one another by attaching a padlock to the bridge, inscribed with their names, and then tossing the key into the river.  In that way, they announce their connection to one another.   Visible from the bridge is the Cathedral of Koln (Cologne), which is the second highest in Europe, built over many centuries and miraculously escaping the bombing of the adjacent rail yards in the Second World War.  It reaches toward heaven as of trying to connect with God, just as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome depicts God reaching to connect with man.