Wednesday, September 16, 2020

My Tender Times

There are certain times in my life that I hold in my memory with the utmost care and tenderness. They are precious beautiful times that I associate with golden periods of my life -- and mostly center around friendships from earlier times in my life that were grounded in youth and the process of maturing and faith and ministry.

One of these is time we spent in California -- especially the connections between the college we attended and the church that became our home. We were deeply rooted in that church, especially its youth ministry, and we built these deep wonderful friendships that I hold with such care in my heart and enjoyed these lovely groups of people who fed into us. In retrospect, I regret that I didn't appreciate this as much as I should have when I had it. I don't think I really understood then how rare it was, and I pined for a move to the NW so I could be closer to my family. I didn't realize that when God finally gave me what I asked for in that, I would always be searching for a copy of the family that I had when we were there. There is guilt that comes with that leaving that we did... Some of those friendships have crumbled, and sometimes I wonder if that was our fault.  If we'd stayed, would they have survived? Probably the answer is yes, they still would have deteriorated for the same reasons they did in reality.  Maybe not on the same timetable, but eventually. -- But I still hold the guilt anyway.

Another is the decade I was a WAH girl. We were women, young to a-little-less-young, who met and came together in the early days of the 2000s internet. Before Facebook, before Instagram, we had Yahoogroups. I was a very young mom, unsure of myself, opinionated anyway, both too strong and too weak of a personality at the same time.  God help you if you missed a day of messages because your inbox would be full to the brim. We loved each other and fought with each other and grew with each other and pushed each other. These, too, are friendships I hold with tenderness -- and with the knowledge that they know every piece of me.  The good things and the oh-so-ugly things. There is a comforting understanding in that, I suppose -- some of our friendships have survived, and some have not (I hold a tremendous amount of guilt and grief in this too -- probably more deserved)-- but even with that being true, I know that every single one of those women have been and continue to be a part of me -- and I wouldn't be who I am without them. I think about them, in some way, almost every day.

We built a ministry that sprung out of our friendships, and we found out yesterday that one of our girls had passed away. And it sort of feels like a piece of you passed with it, like the picture that was that time in our lives has fractured just a little bit more. And it leaves you broken in ways that are hard to explain, and I can only just grasp in my head -- and maybe you had to be part of it.

There will surely be more tender times in my life -- but it's hard for me imagine any that could come close.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Fandom: A Small Retrospective

 We were at a brewery a few weeks ago. There was this lady who clearly frequented regularly and felt like she thought that she owned the place. Not in a "you're in my seat" sort of way -- but more like "Let me tell you everything you didn't ask about and try to sell you on its glory." We found her to be annoying.

I think that I may have especially found her annoying because - well - I watched her and thought, "She would have really enjoyed being a Celtic Thunder fan." Maybe I saw a little bit of me in her.

Most of my 30s and a little bit of my 40s -- I was an Irish manband superfan. My friends knows this. I like to say that I just had my midlife crisis a little early.

In retrospect, it was a weird thing. At the time, I guess I knew that -- but it was also mostly a fun thing. As I look back, there are a lot of things I'm glad that I did -- some things I wish that I'd done differently -- and a few things that I wish I'd never done at all.

I enjoyed the music and loved the concerts -- but the marks that 10-year experience left on me lies mostly in people -- in the friendships and experiences that maybe only another fan can understand. Some of those rested in other fans, some in people within the business, some I only met tangentially but who filled important pieces in me.

Many of those people, I only talk to occasionally now -- some of them remain a beloved fixture. But we all shared a common experience, and they all fill a sweet scene in the friend tapestry of my life.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

The Fog bringeth Autumn

The fog lingers in the trees over the neighborhood swamp this morning, taking its time burning off before the summer day begins. It will burn off, but it's a reminder that a new season is making its way.

Spring was achingly hard this year. Summer as comfortable and lazy, as summer should be. What might Autumn have in store? What might I have in store for Autumn?

At WW, we provide a host of tools to help people with managing change. So many of them -- and the conversations we create -- center on the important of awareness. You can't change how you're eating if you don't know how you're eating. I think you can extrapolate that into so many places in your life.

I've always held the transition from Summer into Fall as a perfect time to reassess life and habits and intentions. Not really for any sweeping changes -- but little things tend to slide and slip in over the summer, and the new season and starting school year has always felt like a joyful opportunity to refocus on the things and people I value most. 

The fog has burned off now -- the morning clouds will follow. And as the late summer day lingers on, I'll be thinking about those things.