Monday, August 13, 2012

Meet Me Here

Join me on my new journey at the above site. For awhile, you might see some posts from this site make an appearance on the Grace Redefined site. The point of Grace Redefined is to encourage and provide hope to those who may need it and share the journey of someone who seeks it herself.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Be Careful Who We Let Out Of Our Lives

I am currently in the process of starting a new blog. The title is "Grace Redefined." When it's up and running I'll let you know here, and tell you what it's all about. This blog post would work perfectly there... 

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Wishing is not enough; we must do.” 
~ Johann Wolfgang Van Goeth

There is this commercial for some arthritis medication that shows on television stations here, and it’s one that replays in my head. What I get out of it is this, “a body in motion stays in motion.” 

What I get out of that, is that we can’t leave everything to chance. There is God’s will, and then there’s what God wills us to do. I don’t care if you have enough money in the world to buy what you want out of life; you’re not going to get that job if you don’t apply. You won’t win an Olympic Gold Medal if you don’t realize that something athletic is your God-given talent and spent every available moment working to perfect the craft that He gave you. No one said it was going to be easy, but we all know it feels amazingly good when hard work prevails, good overcomes, and success is rewarded. 

The last few posts have been about friendship, and this post applies to friendship again. Kris Allen sings the song “Live Like We are Dying,” and in it he says, “be careful who we left out of our lives.” I hear it as, “be careful who we let fall out of our lives.” ‘

Face it, you won’t talk to every friend or every person in your life every single day. It would be a full-time job to physically and emotionally maintain those relationships. Facebook makes it easy, texting makes it removed, and I’m flabbergasted when I get a phone call. A handwritten note card? Stop the presses! That’s breaking news. 

Through some unexplained reason, I found myself compelled to sit down last weekend and write handwritten note cards and letters. My intention was just to brighten someone’s day, but as I was writing, I could feel the Spirit move within me. Halfway through writing one note, I stopped to get out a file box filled of writings I started more than 10 years ago. Out of possibly 600 different things, I pulled out three to transcribe. The last one just hit me right over the head. 

I won’t share that here now, but what I will say, it’s about telling those you love you love them and why when you know. We can’t wish our friends (or family, or spouse, or lovers, or anyone) to know how much they mean to us, nor can we hope we may ever mean anything to them. We have to actually do something about it, and expect nothing in return. 

A body in motion stays in motion. 

A heart that loves always loves. 

Some of the most profound friendships in my life involve a person who walked in when everyone else walked out; a person who encouraged my strengths when others highlighted faults; a person who felt comfortable enough to confide in me when others might judge; and then there are the people who simply are always on the line. 

“Sometimes our candle goes out, but is blown into flame by an encounter with another human being.” ~ Albert Schweitzer 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Friendship in a Constantly Changing World

“Change is hard, big or small,” wrote my Grandma, nearly word for word, in the last legible handwritten notecard she sent.

It came just days before she went into surgery for her fourth hip replacement (long story.) 

Grandma recovered from that surgery in 2006, but then she suffered a stroke. While she recovered from that, one day, months later, she got pneumonia and would not live to be with the family for Thanksgiving that year. 

Change is hard, big or small. 

I heavily grieved the loss, and still do, of her active presence in my everyday life. At first, I was not sure what I would do if I couldn’t go to the mailbox and find a handwritten card from her. I called her answering machine, over, and over, and over again. 

Lately, all I seem to notice is change. 

Friends move away, people change jobs, friends get married, have babies, or get divorced and move on. 

In my naive youth, I once said, “I need to see change constantly.” 

Perhaps that’s not so surprising considering I work in an industry that thrives on changing events as they happen, and even I have an adrenaline rush when plans change last minute and I am forced to adapt. 

Is it possible this is why some of us listen to the same song over and over again? Or, is it why one of my best friends and I chose to watch Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion possibly 80 times before we started college? 

Even still, while I am a little bit attention-deficit and talk in circles sometimes, I need a constant much more than I need constant change. 

Perhaps, just possibly, we wanted so badly to stay in a place that we knew we couldn’t stay in anymore, so we found something that would stay the same. 

Driving to work, while doing laundry, or even staring down the road of nothing on a treadmill, I’ll think of people and wonder if any of the people in my life are perchance the one person who makes all the torn seams come together.

As a Christian who struggles with just as much as the next person, the only constant I know is my Lord and Savior. Yet, I’m also of this life and living in it now and know that I look for a constant here, too. I am not entirely sure if it is a faith issue as much as it is a human issue. 

   It may even just be a living creature issue! Elephants know this, dogs know this; even dogs and elephants together know this to be true (and the subsequent heartache that comes in losing their friend.) 

TARRA, the elephant, and BELLA, the dog in 2009 (CBS News)

  The Bible itself says two are better than one, and three are better than two (Ecc 4:9 -12).

If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.

The key is in not getting stuck on just one person. Two may be better than one, but not if you’re the only two people standing. I’ve learned this lesson in friendship before. 

Tonight, I raise my glass to the friends of all walks of life, different parts of my life, and the people I haven’t met yet. 

Let us thank God and nurture the friendships that validate us, support our inner spirit, keep our light from burning out, and encourage us to never give up, and do the same for them.


The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Blank Page Everyday

Seeing how I cannot seem to bring myself to spend the time creating a new blog home, I guess I will continue writing here. That is, at least, for awhile.
Returning now, to where we once were:
The construct (which is a word I like a lot, by the way, after years of it being drilled into my head by literature professors) of the day I revisited my friend wasn’t much different than visits in the past. As in many friendships, I found myself calmly surrendering, moment by moment, so that the reunion could actually happen. Simple as it were, the conditions on how we were to meet up changed at the last minute. Unlike the rigid tendency of lasting relationships and others saturated with disappointment, I politely obliged. The point was, and as it should likely be in any friendship, to spend time  together. It’s hard to catch up on six years in just a couple hours. 
She couldn’t believe it had been six years, she said, as we hopped in the car to visit her eldest child’s school. A treat, I thought to see this girl who, herself, was six years old when I first met her. College is now just around the corner and I grappled with the very thought of that. Then, I had to pause and remember that I was 19 then, and I am certainly not 19 anymore.
“Let me just tell you,” she said as we pulled out of the driveway. That’s how the conversations begin. I listened for a few minutes, and also talked, about my own circumstance and how things had evolved over the past few years. Although, we both only really focused on recent months. The situations were different but the themes were the same: heartache, growth, discovery, and hope. When is it really ever different?
“I am so tired,” she was saying. It sounded so familiar.
Ten, maybe eleven, years earlier I remember driving East on a freeway in very similar, but not so similar, circumstances. We intended to spend time together, but the course of the day changed, and I went along for errands and chores and what not. I went, just so what would normally be a forty-five minute to an hour visit could actually happen. It just took about three hours. 
Yes, I talked too. Just not as much as I used to.

         A blank page looks a lot like what a real friendship is, friendships of all kinds and varying degrees of time spent. 
Years earlier, as I previously discussed, my college roommate and I celebrated in denial of the discovery that we were friends. Yet, just because we had this very honest realization didn’t mean we suddenly understood it. Nor did it mean that it, this friendship (or any, for that matter), would be easy.
These two friendships are entirely different but incredibly parallel. I was discovering one as I was discovering the other, and it hurt the growth of both.
I think I was in denial of that, too.
“You’re never home,” or something to that effect, said my college roommate to me on the cell phone as I was driving home from my other friend’s house. I was never home because I was either at school, like she was, or at work part time, or babysitting. It was true I was hardly ever home. Then, when that phone call was made, I didn’t understand or feel the emotional significance of that statement. Looking back, it has a deep meaning when I recall being the one who used to fetch ice cream for bad days and stay up all night laughing and giggling when things were funny. It is true, I did not have time, nor did I make time, for that anymore. 
There’s no use on wasting time on guilt, nor do I have any regrets. I just thank God I have both these friends today. 
You get a blank page with real friendships. You get a blank page everyday. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Discovery Begins with Denial

When I started this blog, I didn’t think there would be such long periods of time in-between one post and another. Yet, I certainly didn’t think I would write everyday either.

I’ve thought about writing a few times since the first of the year, but thought I had promised to start over.

 Starting over, it seemed at the time, involves an entirely new creative process. I thought, how can I start over if I don’t have a new blog title, a new purpose, and actually help people? That is the goal, after all.

 Most writers don’t spend time penning something just because they have a story inside them that is burgeoning and begging to be told. They end up writing that story because they believe it will help someone.

            Six years and a lifetime of experience later, I found myself at the doorstep of a home that once represented everything I had hoped for. Before ringing the bell, or knocking, I looked around at a landscape that had mostly stayed the same.

            Calm, and completely composed, I rang the bell. Then, I turned and looked out at the view, remembering years ago telling a friend, “I can see my parents’ house from here.”

            I continued gazing out into the past, as it were, and wondered how many dreams had come true since I last visited; how many dreams shattered.

            When the door opened, I found myself 19 again, but much more confident. I was visiting a former colleague, who at one point had been the person who initiated a catalyst of change in my professional life. It was her husband who answered the door.  In the few moments we stood there talking, filling years of time with quips about the business and personal goals, this long-awaited reunion felt nothing like what happens in the movies. Perhaps the most significant marker of time passing was in the age of their children, and the great height one of them now stood. Where was that little girl I used to baby-sit, I wondered.

            My friend came downstairs and in a moment, what felt like six years felt like six minutes and a lifetime in the same moment. Unlike some of my closest friendships (and even the ones you know you are supposed to keep up), we didn’t pick up right where we left off, but we did.  

            “It hasn’t been six years,” she exclaimed. I confirmed, with proper memory and data to back it up. “No way!”  

            Denial seems to be the first indication that two people were ever friends to begin with.

            I remember, years earlier, around the time I first met my friend, I was having dinner with my college roommate and her mother. I think it was Mother’s Day weekend of freshman year. That second semester, she and I had every single class – but one, together. I don’t remember what we were eating, or where we went to eat, but I do remember what I was wearing. I remember, because we took a picture that night upon a moment of discovery (or, at least I think we did).

            My college roommate’s mom said, “Oh, you guys are friends.” The two of us looked at each other, shrugged, kind of in shock, and denied it. I remember the awareness of that fact, and not the circumstances surrounding it, like it was yesterday.

            Discovery begins with denial.


            I’m going to let that stew for a bit.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Help Wanted: New Blog Title, New Layout, New Voice

Now that it's a new year, I think it's time for a new blog, that is, a new blog title. Not for the blog post, but an entirely different blog altogether.

This will stay up as an archive of sorts, and a new one will begin. 

I'm looking at a few different options that involve not only the things that I'm passionate about, but the things that are relevant to other people.

I'm open to ideas.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Toast: To Opportunity (12/31)

December 31st
Toast: Who and what are you toasting to in 2012?

Funny I should ask this, I just toasted - virtually - to a friend of mine in New York. It goes the same, I'm toasting to my friends (my friendships) and family. I'm toasting for success, love, and peace.

In the middle of it all, toasting to opportunity.

Opportunity to spend more time talking with and spending time with friends and family.
Opportunity to do better at my job and learn new skills.
Opportunity to go on a date, or two, maybe, once in a while.
Opportunity to give back, volunteer, and help make the world a better place.

Hmm, maybe I should go back to yesterday's post and say the word for 2012 is opportunity!

The rest of the Resonating Reflections of 2011 can be found here.
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