Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Friends

I love how God works. My last post was about old friends, the beauty of someone who has known you through it all and loves you anyway. Little did I know that, mere days later, God would touch me so deeply through a new friend. Clearly, length of time does not determine the depth of a friendship. We all have people in our lives we have known for years, but they never make it past the level of acquaintance. Then there are those people who you meet and instantly feel you have known forever. Or the people who suddenly become a part of your group and just fit right in. Or the people you bond with over a shared experience. That's where this new friend finds me.

I was recently in a setting where I shared my 'mom story.' Of course, for me, this included losing two babies and the daily struggle that goes with that loss. Unbeknownst to me, there was someone else in this group who knows my pain. She has been through it four times. Wow, and I thought I hurt.

Fast forward two weeks, to the first time we see each other again after this sharing. She brings me the most precious gift. A gift of herself, and her artist's spirit is so apparent in it. A beautiful box full of...shared sorrow...understanding ...love...a shoulder...shared tears...someone who gets it.

She put together a box of comfort: things, ideas, rituals that helped her through her pain. She took the time to make this for me. She beautifully put it all together. Reading the note she put with each 'thing' brought tears and comfort all at the same time. She gave of her time and, even more importantly, she gave of herself. This was her grief, a very painful, very private, very real thing. And she chose to dredge it all up again to help me.

I don't deserve that help. I did nothing to earn it. But I choose to receive it and am so grateful for it. She may not know it, but today (and each day I work my way through these exercises) she has been God's hands in my life. So many times I have asked Him to hold me, to comfort me as I mourn. Today, in a very tangible way, he has.

Thanks to her, and thanks to Him.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Old Friends

Do you have any really good old friends? Not old as in ancient, decrepit, etc. Old as in you have known them your whole life. I do, and am so grateful for her. She has seen me through so much. She has known me happy and sad and joyful and giddy and immature. She has seen me make huge mistakes, and major triumphs. She has seen me sobbing, bleeding, raw. She has seen me totally put together for a night on the town.

She sees me. Not the person I want to be, or maybe try to preted to be. Not the impression I might put forward on any given day. Just me. As I am.

And she loves me despite that, or maybe because of it.

I was so blessed to just have a visit from this friend. Not a lunch, or a coffee date, or even an overnight. A whole week! She stayed with us and we got to really just live life together, like the good old days when any given weekend found us sleeping over at each other's houses. Inseparable.

It was so needed. By both of us. Plenty of time to catch up. To laugh and talk. To hurt and cry. To just be quiet in each other's presence. To cook and explore, to slide at the playground and see the elephants at the zoo. To sip on tea, sip on wine, and eat way too much dessert.

It did my heart good. Because she knows me to the point that sometimes there is no need for words. Silences are ok, healthing, helpful. No organized plan is no problemo.

Lately we have both been through our own drama, our personal calamities, griefs, crises. Are still in the midst of them actually.

What I have found, over the years, is that sometimes, I hold her up.

Sometimes, she holds me up.

And sometimes, we just have to hold each other up.