Once upon a time through the miracle that is summer vacations at your aunt’s house in Wisconsin, a boy fell in love with a girl. And she fell in deep friendship with him. But he was so in love he actually laminated her wallet-sized school picture and carried it around in his wallet for ages.
Their lives moved apart fall after fall and then back together summer after summer until they grew up and married other people and went their separate ways.
Those separate ways were full of beauty and full of joy, but also fraught with trials and sadness and loneliness and divorce and single parenthood.
Then one day, the now grown-man was moving some boxes in his garage. One box flapped open and there was that laminated wallet-sized school photo of his first love.
And he thought to himself, in this day of the Internets, maybe I should find this girl.
And so he did.
I still remember the first time I met Jeff. He was walking up the stairs as they came to pick up Melody’s granddaughter, who ended up at my house when her little brother ended up in the emergency room with a broken arm. Jeff’s whole being exuded kindness. Right then and there my heart silently consented for him to marry one of my best friends.
Long story short, just last month, Melody and Jeff got married. And they are just getting started putting the happy in happily ever after.
And I think that’s the point. This mortal life is fraught with trials. We tell each other – particularly people who are alone – to just hang on, everything will work out in the next life (and it will – I know it!). But isn’t it so beautiful and so hopeful to know that sometimes you don’t have to wait until the next life?
[I need to write. I don’t expect anyone to read this. I still don’t understand how anyone has time to read blogs anymore. This is simply my attempt to get back up on that horse. NaBloPoMo seemed like a good excuse to try.]
This has been a year for losing and missing people. It’s still too soon to write about losing my mother. Except to say it’s not a thing you can begin to understand until you experience it yourself. (Which I don’t wish on anyone.) And that one of the things you will realize after she’s gone (despite how complex your relationship may have been at times) is that one of the best things about your mother is that she is the one person in your life who will care about the things no one else cares about simply because you care about them.
A good friend, colleague and mentor moved across the country. I was ghosted by one of my closest friends. Another of my closest friends moved to Texas. And another of my closest friends found and married the love of her life. (Which, on some days, feels as far away as Texas.) And so on… Yes, I am blessed to have that many close friends. But that only made me feel the distances between us more acutely.
The context of that kind of loss in such a short time throws the best thing that happened this year into sharp relief. Namely this little guy:
His name is James. He is sweetness personified. Until he was born I could not have imagined or believed how instantaneously one could fall so deeply in love with a child born to another mother, but that’s part of the beauty of becoming a grandmother.
And the moment I saw him – as his father (my oldest son) held him up to the corner window of the OR – my heart began to heal.
Adequate words do not exist to express how much I enjoyed seeing the Doctors Who on the BIG screen. In 3D no less.
I could not wipe the silly ear-to-ear grin off my face.
Fifty IS nifty!
Today I sat on our favorite back row on the left side of the chapel (if you were facing forward) and I wondered for a few minutes if, now that my children are mostly grown, I should relinquish the row to another family in need–a family with young children who might need a quick escape route. For that was why I claimed it over 20 years ago.
But then I realized why I never want to give up sitting in the back. As I looked ahead from left to right I recognized the backs of the heads of so many people I’ve come to know and love. As I see them my mind is filled with their stories and my heart is filled with love for them. While I have forgotten so much of my past, having been uprooted at 19 to never really go back, there is a sense of belonging, a sense of the familiar here. Names and faces I remember. Experiences–mostly good, but a few challenging ones as well–that linger. Stories. Their stories. I often find myself wishing I could know more of their stories, not just the little snatches I know here and there, but their whole stories. For some, even the limited parts I know are too intense for me. They pull hardest on my heart, creating an almost overwhelming sense of love. I wish I could find adequate words with which to share their stories, and to try to convey the love that swells in my heart when their presence fills my entire view.
These people have my heart. We have grown to be part of one another. And so, at least for now, I will continue to sit on the back row and look out over the congregation and let the sense of belonging, the comfort of being home, linger.
Because I split a day and therefore share a station with a coworker, we end up playing musical chairs when I have to come in early. Today I lucked out and got the only cubicle with a window. Which window I left open for most of the day because it was September again and oh so lovely outside and also because, as I said before, it’s all about the sound of the engines.
Today must have been a great day to fly, because there was lots of that going on and I love every minute of it.
It was a quiet day–only three or four of the seven of us in our part of the office. Still lots of pressure with deadlines and big projects, but quiet also, in the general lack of complaints we received. Whew! One of the extra responsibilities I sought out when I was hired was keeping our blog more current. Occasionally I get asked to cover events or exciting news. Today I got to interview one of our students, who is also a member of our flight team and a part-time employee in the office just next to ours. He was recently sworn into a pilot’s slot for the National Guard. He’ll be training to fly one of those jets that refuels other planes in flight. Pretty amazing. He is sharp and a nice kid. It was inspiring to hear his story in his own words. What I loved most about his story was his humility and his perseverance. There were clearly some aspects of his route to have this opportunity that were not simply coincidence or happenstance and he recognized that and was humble and grateful.
I love that I work somewhere where I sometimes get to watch as some people literally reach for the sky and really go after their dreams.
That Sunday evening I attended a delightful and delicious Ben & Jerry’s tasting party. It was a brilliant idea and a super great time, which proves once again that I have the very best friends!
That earlier that earlier this week I was on the phone helping out one of my favorite account managers when he told me tbat the account manager next to him wanted to speak with me. He passed the phone to her. I was expecting her to need my assistance as well, but no:
“I just wanted to let you know that it’s our guy here’s birthday today!”
She transferred me back to Rich and I was so happy to be able to tell him “Happy Birthday!” I would have felt awful to have spoken with him on his birthday and not known. I truly love the people with whom I work, many whom I’ve never met in person, but who treat me with love, respect, courtesy and appreciation every single day.
That while in St. George last weekend eating up the beauty that is Snow Canyon I wondered aloud if the people who saw that red-rock panorama every day ever took it for granted. Someone responded, “Well, it’s probably just like us and where we live. I thought abou tit and realized that I rejoice every morning in the beauty that is Timp, who greats me first thing from my bedroom window. I am greatful that I don’t take the beauties of this earth for granted.
Speaking of beauty, tonight I asked my MIL how her hair was growing back. She took off her wig to show me. I am grateful for fhe medical advancements that give both of our moms a fighting chance against breast cancer and for eyes that see true beauty not as the shallow world sees it but for what it really is. Barbara’s wig is pretty, but her face is just as beautiful to me under the super short dark scalp-hugging new hair that signifies recovery from the cell-killing properties of chemotherapy as it is framed by the full styled wig she received before she started treatments. I feel the same way about my own mother who is about two months behind Barbara in the treatment and recovery process.
And, finally, that when I asked the family if they had any requests for pie tomorrow Zack was ready with “Sour cream lemon! I’ve been waiting two whole years for that!” (I honestly thought he did not miss me. And maybe he didn’t, but at least he missed my pie.)