I have, from time to time, alluded to the fact that our visits with friends are among the most refreshing moments we share. We’ve been gone from Bend for about twenty months at this point. I can honestly say, with absolutely no drama, that we have made a few acquaintances but no real friends. Not yet. I know it will come. I know this is a season. Our attentions have been so focused on caring for family and getting our business off the ground that we just haven’t had the freedom to pursue new friendships. This has meant that family and “old friends” have carried a heavy load for us.
And man, oh, man, have they stepped up. We have felt so loved and supported. So cared for and valued, even from afar. I am amazed at how crazy wonderful our friends have been. I knew when we were doing life with them that they were great, but I had no idea how they would stick when we left the physical community. We are so. blessed. Seriously, an embarrassment of riches.
The thing is, if you asked me specifically, what have they done to be such amazing people? you might be disappointed by the ordinariness of the answer…we’ve chatted on the phone, traded emails and shared meals. We’ve connected over simple little life events: a senior photo shoot, a quick business trip to see a client, a short stay to pick up a camper, a run crammed into an already full weekend, a delivery of salsa. They’re simple things but they’ve meant the world to me. Simply the world. They have been breath and courage and strength and joy for me.
I read another kids book this week. (I have a weakness.) And I found such a lovely truth there. The book is The Chestnut King; it’s the third in the 100 Cupboards series. Here’s the scene: one boy, Henry, has special sight and strength because of his family and birth order, and he alone must face the evil queen. His cousin, Henrietta, and friend, Zeke, are with him but unable really to help. Henrietta is frustrated by this–she’s a girl of action and wants to be part of the solution. Zeke has a broader view and brings his baseball expertise to the situation…
“Henrietta killed her light. ‘We should go after Henry.’
‘Let me know when you figure out how.’
‘If he hadn’t lost Grandfather’s journal we’d be able to…’
The floor creaked as Zeke shifted. ‘We’re here for him. We can wait.’
‘Does he even need us?’ Henrietta asked. “It’s not like either of us did much in there….”
Zeke laughed. …’Henry’s pitching. Slap your glove and talk him up. Pitcher throws better when a team props him, even if it’s just chatter.'”
So for my friends who think it’s just chatter–it’s just a phone call or an email or coffee or lunch–I am my best self because you’re behind me. Hope I can return the favor.