Heart Friend

imageI talked to my heart friend today. That’s what she is to me. I hope I’ve been one to her. But time is cruel and changes things, and I fear I’ve lapsed in love – which is always more verb than noun.

I’ve known her almost as long as I’ve lived in this town, and we’ve literally walked through the stages of motherhood together. But the kids are growing up….at different schools….separate activities….scheduling is difficult. It’s been said, “Don’t let your kids be your excuse.” “Yes, yes.” I say, my voice trailing off….

So I call her today, to discuss an event – an increasingly rare overlap in plans, and I remember I’m the one who’s usually rushing. And I stop.

“Did I interrupt you?” I ask. “Is this a good time?”

“It’s fine.”

We are going on a trip tonight. I’m staring at dishes in the sink. There’s a suitcase waiting upstairs. But the Lord has his hand on me, so I stand still. And suddenly, it starts coming out..

“Did I tell you??” I say…

“No,” she says.

And I spend an hour telling her what I should have…months ago.

And we’re talking in big circles, about us and others…people we know, who are moving in different directions – some geographically away, to start new lives elsewhere. We both know from personal experience, how very hard that is….to make close friends. To find people you trust. People you really love. And I find myself telling her the deeper truth – the one I really want her to know:

“I’d do anything for you.”

My heart is always for our friendship. I’m not sure she knows. But as I was reminded earlier this week, “Friendships must be forged.” With open hearts and hands.

Lord, please bless all our friendships. Show us how to enrich them. Forgive us our wrongs and oversights. Strengthen our bonds. Let what was forged once, be forged again – anew.

 

Day 31 – A New Beginning

Well, I’ve finally hit my initial goal of 31 days of blogging!  (And I will stop numbering my posts now.) I didn’t complete all 31 posts in 1 month, but I did manage to do it in 2.  Given that I’ve never done this sort of writing before, I feel that’s not half bad. “Started a blog” could be checked off my bucket list, if I had one.  “Make a bucket list” should be the next thing I do!

I’ve found that so far, blogging has definitely been a worthwhile journey.  Thank you – each one of you – for reading.  I know your time is valuable and I’m honored that you spare a bit of it to read my two cents.

Thank you, also, to everyone who has encouraged me with your compliments, ‘likes,’ and ‘shares.’  There’s simply no way I can fully convey just how much your appreciation means to me.  I am very blessed to enjoy the writing process, but gifted so much more by friends cheering me on. Thank you. Thank you.

So – today’s post is about a new beginning.  Why? Well, because it’s the first day of Advent.

My family and I had a great Thanksgiving.  We are also looking forward to Christmas. We were talking about getting our tree today, but for some reason, and I couldn’t put my finger on why, planning to do this seemed a little rushed to me. And then, as we settled into the pew at Mass this morning, I realized I was feeling sluggish.  It was not the tryptophan from turkey leftovers.  No, I just felt caught in a sort of no-man’s land….I was mentally done with the Thanksgiving holiday but not yet ready to start preparing for Christmas.

Then I grabbed the Missal. In the Catholic Church, this book contains all of the scripture readings selected for the church worldwide for the entire year. Churches replace their Missals annually, and the church year begins with Advent. So basically, I thought, maybe today I start again.

I pondered this more as I heard the first reading, from the Book of Isaiah 63 and 64, and especially the last lines, “Yet, O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the work of your hands.”

I am a work in His hands. And He is patient with me.  Since Advent is about waiting for His coming at Christmas, the Lord is not caught up in the hustle and bustle of the so-called “holiday season” that has become so commercialized in our predominantly secular society.  No, He has no part in that. So, I participated in Communion with Him and gave Him myself as I was, and He came and made today about accepting the process of preparation for things to come.  He made it about taking the necessary time to do that.  Nice and easy.  Peacefully and slowly.  Not on the world’s time.

Instead of rushing to pull out the decorative embellishments that say to the world “we’re celebrating,” I removed clutter and cleaned to make room for what’s to come.  I’ll do more tomorrow, but I feel better already.

 

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Day 28 – Blue Angels and Loops

“Do the Blue Angels have an airport?”

“Do the Blue Angels wear helmets?”

“Do the Blue Angels practice?”

Like top-of-the-hour-news reports, preschoolers can get on loops that change only slightly from day to day.  Mine has been ‘looping’ about the Blue Angels for a week or so now. We live in Annapolis, home of the U.S. Naval Academy.  The mega-impressive demo team flies here during Commissioning Week each May and it’s one of the highlights of our town’s year.  We also live near the Navy stadium, so we drive past a retired Blue Angel plane parked outside of it – at a vicious angle, no less – every single day. It’s no small wonder my son would have an interest. Thankfully, we are prepared. We’ve collected several small Blue Angel planes over the years. (See Exhibit A: attached photo).  The dents and missing paint belie hours of death-defying stunts. My husband and I can answer most questions. If not, there’s the internet.

Anyway, while my 4-year old son has been ‘looping’ lately on this fun topic, he’s also been circling back to a heavier one.  I’m astonished, humbled, and proud to say that completely on his own, he has remembered to pray for his friends’ father every single night since I first heard him during bedtime prayers on October 30. (See Day 18) That’s nearly a month ago.

When my son first heard about this man’s need, he and all his classmates only knew that “Ava and Charlotte’s dad was in the hospital.”* Now, he doesn’t know much more except that it was an accident and the twins’ father was hurt by some tree branches.  But we parents have been told details. Things children don’t need to hear. He is still in the hospital. He still needs prayers.

I think about this as I watch my son pray, and how his perseverance in prayer, is what faith is really about. It’s about not getting caught up in the details, but instead choosing to believe in a big, Big, BIG God. Yes, prayers might not get answered the way we’d like them to, but that’s not the point. The point is that in prayer, we acknowledge our need for God.

For a few days now, after bedtime prayer, my son has had a new ‘loop’ question. “How can God hear us?” I tell him again and again, “God knows, and sees and hears everything because he is the Master and Creator of everything. And he wants us to talk to Him, because he loves his children and wants them to tell Him what’s on their minds and hearts. To stay close to Him, we need to talk to Him.”

So we carry on with our questions – about things for which we can find answers, and the things we can’t.  And the peace that I feel when I spend time in prayer is all the confirmation I need that He is near, and hears me.

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us. 

— 1 John 5: 14-15

 * Not their real names.

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