Category Archives: Friends

Focusing on the RIGHT Things

The last week or so has been full of ups and downs for me, the downs mostly coming from two states away.

I have the ability to get so completely focused on one thing that I don’t see other things around me. This ability allows me to accomplish more at my office than most because I’ll “tune out” and get a 3-day project done in 4 hours. But sometimes I focus on the wrong things.

To help me re-focus…

  • I have a beautiful daughter. From an early age she has been able to identify those who need the most help, need a kind touch or need justice. She is intelligent and eager to learn. She is athletic and hard-working. She is generous with her love and accepting of all people. Her giggle never fails to make me laugh along with her. She is independent and helpful. She is selfless and giving. I am so blessed to have her as my daughter. I am proud of who she is and her future.
  • I have a beautiful immediate family. My parents who live less than 5 miles from me and my sister and brother-in-law who live almost 2000 miles from me. My family is always there for me, no matter what. Whether it’s advice, hugs, laughter, mutual tears, babysitting services, transportation, food…I can always count on them. My mother who is my best friend, a second mom to my daughter and my toughest coach. My father who always has sage advice and new ways of thinking around problems. My sister who loves me no matter how much she might “hate” me at times. I am blessed to come from a wonderful family of lovers and givers.
  • I have a beautiful boyfriend. The never-ending patience he has while I slowly mend the hole in my heart never ceases to amaze me. His calm voice and gentle touch keep me grounded when I over-analyze things to the point of hysteria. His humor and laughter are just as contagious as my daughter’s. He is constantly reminding me that I am beautiful, loved and worth all the trouble I cause. He treats me as his equal in all aspects of his life, even though I feel like he is the better half of our relationship. I am blessed every day to have him in my world and in the future I imagine ahead of me.
  • I have a beautiful church family. Whether it’s people I see every Sunday, people I see once a month, or people I haven’t seen in years – the love and support I get from these people is overwhelming. I know that I can call on any one of these family members to help me see the other side of things, to stand beside me, to comfort me, to get me out of the house, to pray for me… What a remarkable blessing to have so many people ready and willing to help me in any way possible.
  • I have beautiful friends across the world. Some of these I’ve known practically all my life, some I’ve known for a little over a year and some I’ve never met and don’t even know their real names. These people have entered my life through school, family, work, the internet or happenstance. These people send me notes of encouragement and stand up for me. These people  recognize the goodness in others before they recognize the goodness in themselves. People who believe strongly in the power of prayer and people in whom I see a bit of God even if they do not believe in the same God I do. People who know that I cry – a lot – and that it’s OK. All of these people touch my heart on a regular basis and I feel blessed that all of these friends accept me for who I am and continue to choose to be in my life.

I need to focus on that list. When it seems that my life is spiraling out of control, that I’m going to lose everything I have, that my whole world is going to turn upside down, THIS LIST will help me to remember that I am not alone no matter how many walls I put up between myself and others. THIS LIST needs to be my main focus.

I can’t/What if

I can’t

I can’t begin to process what my ears are hearing

I am struggling to come up with words of meaning and substance. Words that will calm and bring peace

A good friend of Brad’s died tonight. A car accident. Brad was in that car. Brad is okay. Physically. Physically Brad is okay.

But emotionally he is damaged. When he called to tell me that his friend didn’t make it out of surgery, I could tell in his voice before his words registered in my brain. Not only did Brad lose a friend tonight, he was there.

Along with feelings of sorrow and grief for a friend I’ll never meet, and the knowledge of how it feels to lose someone so suddenly, tragically, violently

are the feelings that it could have been Brad. Knowing how close he came to not being okay sends hot tears streaming down my cheeks. The panic of the what if leaves me gasping for air, disbelief at what hasn’t happened as if it did happen.

My feelings are nothing compared to what Brad and the rest of his friends are going through right now. There is nothing I can do or say to any of them to give peace, to help them sleep tonight. I cannot go to where Brad is. I cannot hold him and hug him and let him cry until he falls asleep to the inevitable nightmares.

I can only sit here and answer the phone if he calls. If he calls because I am of no use to him right now. I cannot do anything. Any grief I am feeling pales in comparison to his. Any guilt I feel is no match to what any of his friends may be feeling.

I can only sit here and answer the phone if he calls.

Welcome to the family

 

This needs to be posted above every door to every home in my immediate family:

 

Welcome to the Family

 

Rather than “welcome to our home,” the above phrase accurately describes my family’s mantra. Homes are a private place, a sanctuary, a respite. Homes are where we are truly ourselves and that’s a very intimate thing to witness. When we invite you into our homes, we are inviting you to enter into our lives.

For as long as I can remember, new friends have always been welcomed into my parents’ home. It doesn’t matter if my parents knew them or not; if my sister and I invited them over, they were made to feel like family rather than guests. We’ve had holiday dinners with multiple countries represented because various cousins had friends/co-workers/classmates in town. We’ve had local servicemen over for meals because we knew they couldn’t be where they would rather be: home.

Growing up, all of my friends called my mom “Mom,” not Mrs. And once a friend had been to our house, any return visits were welcomed (planned or not) and it was expected that they could help themselves to whatever snacks or drinks they wanted. Friends were taken on camping trips and friends of friends were invited to birthday parties. And, depending on how long we’ve known you, ringing the doorbell before you enter is silly.

Our house may not always be guest-ready and we are (for the most part) ok with that. We’ve had new friends over who were offered a drink in exchange for assistance with moving furniture and floor samples. Random cookie baking days include anyone available at the time. And new acquaintances from across the world are invited to stay overnight to avoid long drives and help facilitate longer visits.

When you meet my family for more than 10 seconds, you are given an invitation. You are invited to join us not as a guest but as another member of the family. My mom and my sister can bring a shy stranger into the fold faster than anyone I’ve ever known. The warmth my sister and I extend toward strangers/acquaintances/co-workers/friends/extended family is a diluted sample of the concentrated love my parents extend to everyone in their lives.

In our family, if my sister, my mom, my dad or I know you, then the rest of us know you, too. I frequently stay with friends of my parents from their high school years that I didn’t grow up with. These friends have always lived a good 6-8 hours away, and yet when I’m up in that area, I stay at their place and we get along like long-lost best friends.

So it comes as no surprise to me that the day after my sister announced her pregnancy, the boys (MY BOYS) friended her on Facebook and congratulated her. The only time my sister ever met the boys was the afternoon of my second embryo transfer. Via FaceTime! Two hopeful parents from far away met my sister who lives far away (from me) on the internet and they are already treating each other like family!

As often as an invitation is extended to join our family, it’s amazing and heartwarming to realize that the invitation is still given with as much warmth and love as if it were a special privilege. Because it is. Each person we invite into our homes, our lives, is special. We offer genuine hospitality.

And I am blessed to be a part of that.