Friday, August 2, 2013

...the friends i've never met

Crossing San Francisco bay...headed home. 
There's a light at the end of the bridge. 
And it's not a train.

I am thinking of my e-friend/blogger/sort of neighbor, Edie. She's younger than I am. In fact, I could be her mother really older sister. We are both southern girls. She has more cowboy boots than I have but I love mine too. Both of us read cookbooks and treasure our big red pots. We are in our element when we gather family/friends/hungry strangers around a table and feed 'em. Each of us embraces our blended family and gives thanks for this gift. I daresay neither of us has met a fabric sample we didn't want to fondle. A good book is a sacred thing. And all that is sacred rests on the rock of ages. Jesus is our friend.

Did I say we've never met? We now live twenty-five hundred miles apart, so our company may remain wedded to the ether. I dropped into her wonderful blog [] when I hit the wrong key on my Mac. Since I am prone to do this, I suppose "miraculous" might be an adjective too far. But "fortuitous" works.

Since I could, as I've already pointed out, be her very older sister, I hardly need to point out that we are in different life stages. I am a grandmother who would trade two pairs of  broken-in but still excellent boots for a tenth of her energy. Whatever our differences, I have been touched by her story. She's written recently about a transition in her life, one of those letting-go moments mamas face from time to time. Honest, vulnerable, powerful, gutting.

I thought of the words of C.S. Lewis that have long resided in my heart:

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

Did I say we both love C.S Lewis?

Edie, when we crossed the Richmond bridge Wednesday night, I thought of you. I love my life, love those who populate it. But I am transitioning. Aging. Letting go of some long-held dreams to make room for ones I could never imagine. Accepting that I may never amount to a hill of beans in the eyes of the world. But the eyes of the world have never been particularly appealing. Or kind. I gave up the notion of God the Cosmic Butler ("here's my list...chronologically and by importance") a couple of decades ago. But waiting, listening, waiting some more...still a challenge.

Years ago, there was an ad on television that said, "I haven't got time for the pain". A nod both to bad grammar and the impatience of our culture. Set to a truly annoying tune. I recall a devotion which pointed to the commercial. Above the text was a photo of a cat, curled up in a window. The writer described how animals GET VERY STILL when they are hurting or sick. They are smart enough to have time for the pain. When we huddle under a comforter or lie like a rug in front of the glass doors and stare at the garden, crying perhaps until no tears remain, or practicing an unnatural (in my case) stillness, healing can take root. The Spirit can be heard. And later, out of the blue, we are visited with inspiration: how to re-arrange the pictures on the wall opposite the bed or where to shift the planters on the porch.  For starters.

My e-friend, whether we ever meet or not, you inspire me. Exhaust me.  You have chickens, for-crying-out-loud. My Meyer lemon tree is the extent of this year's crop. You've greatly increased my musical scope. I did grow up with the dad of Dave of Lady Antebellum. He played in The Dukes of York which entertained at all our dances. Not sure any of the group would remember me, though. I was a math tutor. In high school. What better way to say "never have a date"?

Yesterday when I was lying like the aforementioned rug, I told Bill I had no blog post, no other writing. I might as well let go of this as well. He just now asked me if I wanted to take a walk. I told him that I did but this post had landed on me.  Out of the blue. So we're walking first thing in the morning. He waited just a tad, then said with a smile, "Yesterday, you said you'd never write again." He can remind me of such moments with inordinate grace.  Did I say I love this man?

I do have a request. My e-friend, Carol, from Yorkshire, is going through a rough patch, health-wise. May all who read this remember her, let your grace wash over her, and lift her. Thank you.

Edie, you rest in my heart, in my prayers...gratitude for the joy and vulnerability that permeates your posts and graces your readers, for the precious understanding that - while details differ - I am less alone for all of this. I moved across country two years ago. Love this beautiful place. Love my Bill, my wonderful husband/friend/partner. But I miss my girlfriends. You - and your readers - fuel the joy of those friendships that now rely on Skype and email and phone calls. I am grateful for new friends, present and online. This old voyeur draws energy from you young, energetic women. And sends love.

May the circle be unbroken...

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