Monday, February 25, 2013

Snow Day!

“Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends, for it is one of God's best gifts. 
It involves many things, but above all, the power of going out of one's self, 
and appreciating whatever is noble and loving in another.” ~ Thomas Hughes

Today was a snow day. 

In a matter of 18 hours or less, we got 17 inches of snow. Needless to say, it crippled the Texas panhandle. The National Guard had to be called in because even our snow vehicles were getting stuck. Beautiful snow - but more than we are accustomed to around here!
As Kerry said, we have a snow fort that has indoor plumbing and electricity!
Sitting in my living room and looking at the horizontal snow (whiteout condition), I was reminded of the year that it snowed umpteen bazillion inches and we missed 3 days of school. I think I was 16 - or maybe 17 - and it was a gift from God to get snow days.  As you can imagine, we were all THRILLED to miss school but desperate to be with our friends. We weren't about to let that same snow storm keep us away from each other. 

Cathy, Jason and I all lived about the same distance apart - forming a triangle - and Jason's dad was the only one who drove a 4 wheel drive - so we decided to all convene at my house for a while. He brought Jason over when he had to go check on things at work. It was perfect! We spent the day playing in the snow and taking a long nap before Jason's dad picked us all up on his way home and took us to their house for movies. 
This wasn't THAT snow, but as you can see
we were always goofing off!

We had a blast! Where else would you want to be when you are snowed in other than stuck with your best friends with nothing urgent to accomplish? I couldn't tell you what movies we saw or how late we stayed up, but I definitely remember how much fun we all had together. I can almost put myself back there. It's that vivid of a memory.

Anyway, as I reflected on that snow storm, I found myself laughing at how much fun we had.

Next thing I knew, I was crying. That kind of silent cry where you can't really stop the tears from flowing. You know the one. You could easily sob, but you keep it all in and just let the tears fall....and your nose runs....and you realize you probably look ridiculous but you can't help it. 

This whole cancer thing sucks. Instead of remembering our awesome adolescent antics, I found myself boo hoo-ing because I'm not sure when we will ever get to make more memories like those. Distance certainly plays a part, but this stupid cancer is really cramping our ability to get together too. 

I think I was crying for our forgotten childhood as well as the reality that illness brings to our realized adulthood. And, on some level, there were tears of happiness because I am so blessed to have the same close friends I had when I was 16. Not everyone can say that, I know. Anyway...I bawled. 

Since I'm not one to sit around and pout, I suggested we play a game. So out came Monopoly, and then Gracey came walking in with one of her friends on FaceTime.  She asked if we could go pick up him up, and Kerry and I said yes immediately.  A little giggling of crazy friends, cookie baking, Monopoly and some playing in the snow cheered me right up! Seeing my kids joke around and have fun with friends makes me so happy. They have great friends - and they are good friends themselves. It's truly a blessing.

And somehow it doesn't look as deep when you are standing up on the porch...but it's crazy deep out there!
And the games began!

Nothing like carrying on a tradition to make you smile!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Keeping it Real

“When I tell the truth, it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those that do." ~ William Blake

Do you ever doubt that sometimes the truth just plain hurts? The past few weeks I've had some brutal conversations with friends. Ones that left me emotionally exhausted - and heartbroken. Sometimes having those truth-filled conversations is hard. I don't mean the kind that require someone to be scolded or held accountable; although, those conversations are awful too.  

I mean the ones that come at times of trouble. Or times of reflection.

One of our favorite among favorites lost her spouse way too soon and way too suddenly. It's horrible. And it's painful. It has left everyone who knows and loves her and her family..and his...shell shocked. 

From my perspective, it's been hard to see someone hurt and virtually nothing I could ever do will make it better. I can't bring him back. I can't show her how life will be better. Because her new normal isn't one she should have to experience!

Sitting with her and talking about it brought only the words "this sucks," "I hate this," and "this is so unfair" from my mouth. Because, HONESTLY, that's all I could say. There are no words of comfort for that kind of devastation. 

My precious and wonderful friend Jason (who again would shoot me where I stood if he suspected I was writing about him) is having some health issues associated with his cancer. I am so unbelievably proud of him. Proud of his attitude and his perseverance. Proud of his sense of humor and of his "can do" attitude. But this week I had a serious conversation with him about being honest with me. 

I told him that I am stronger than he suspects and that I want to know the good, the bad, the horrible and the worst. I told him not to leave out details to protect me or because it makes him uncomfortable. Heck, we've been best friends since 11th grade! And really, I don't know that there are many secrets we've ever kept from each other. I explained that he can't start now. I know the days of us on the earth together are numbered, so I don't want to spend all of them playing the "I'm ok" game.

Thankfully, he agreed. (Wow.. he must have really not felt good. It's rare that he readily agrees with me.) And then we proceeded to have a very long talk about everything we could think to cover. My heart was smiling and weeping at the same time. He was so courageous in his vulnerability. And every single subject we covered reminded me why we are such good friends. We will continue to pray for miraculous healing - and I will continue to make sure he is always honest with me!

On the flip side of all this sad honest discussion, I've had some very GOOD honest talks recently too.

It's been forever since my birthday twin, Mindy, and I had a chance to talk. One night we stayed up late into the night texting each other about our lives. Nothing was earth shattering, but we each had some "stuff" to talk out. Not stuff you run around and tell every person you know. Stuff you can only share with those who REALLY get you. Between fits of giggles on my end, and what I am sure was laughter with snorting on hers, I found myself crying. It felt so good to talk things out with her. No back story. No dancing around the issues. Just straight discussion with someone who I trust completely.

And yesterday, I talked at length to Cathy. Cathy...the blond friend every brunette needs...is the emotional one of us. She cries if she THINKS someone else might cry. And she gets tickled at the drop of a hat, but you can't hear her laugh because it's completely silent. (Now I feel as though I need a video clip so you can see it for yourself.)  She and I also had one of those REAL talks. We reviewed our various lives and whether or not we had any regrets or feelings of "do overs" plus we threw in a little talk about Jason and what we were each thinking about him. (I'm sure he'd REALLLLY love knowing that too...)  I got off the phone exhausted at our marathon talk but satisfied that we'd solved the world's problems for at least a nanosecond. All in all - success!

Which then brings me to lunch today. Randi and I had this marathon lunch. We covered as many things as we could in a long lunch. It had been almost 2 weeks since we'd seen each other, so there was a lot to discuss. Church, kids, Valentine's Day, marriage, death, sports, grades, work, home improvement.....you name it, we probably talked about it.

And at the end of it. She sent this text:  "Thanks! I really enjoyed lunch. #keepingitreal"

Doesn't that say it all?

I'm so thankful for authentic friends. xoxo