Where Was Her Biffle?

This afternoon I had the pleasure of being a part of a girls’ outing.  Aub, our Princess, a dear friend, and I went to see “Cinderella” together.  Cooter didn’t want to go, not because it was a Princess movie, but because he had heard about the “Frozen” short film that was to precede the main feature.  He’s so over Frozen, the thought of watching that short was downright off-putting.

We gathered in the lobby and headed down the hall to the third door on the right.  The previews started shortly after we arrived.  And still folks came in and wound their way to find seats in a nearly packed theater.  By the time “Frozen Fever” started, we were ready.

The short was actually cute and entertaining, and I can predict what Disney’s new stuffed critter item will be (spoiler alert–baby snowmen).  Then Cinderella started.  I watched the old and comfortably familiar story; yet I still found myself on edge, wondering what would happen.  Which part would they change, and which part of the story was so sacred that it could not be touched?

Photo via eonline.com

Photo via eonline.com

I enjoyed the movie, once I employed suspension of disbelief.  I think that the enthusiasm of my friend who is the mother of a son was infectious, and I was able to forget about the overall message and fall in love with the beauty and romance and magic.  Our Princess was enchanted, and her eyes shone brightly all through the movie.  She missed nothing.

A time or two during the movie a particular thought tried to surface, but it never quite made it.

Until the movie was over and I was sitting quietly with my thoughts.

Then it hit me.

Where were the people who knew Ella and her family?  Where were her friends?  Their friends?  Surely there was someone who, at some point, thought to him or herself, “Hey, wonder where Ella’s been?  I haven’t seen much of her since her Father passed on. I should really check in on her.”

I wondered where the people were who would feel inclined to pay their respects after his death.  Bring a casserole.  Drop by for a visit. Why was there no one to realize that this girl was being mistreated by the very ones to whom her care was entrusted?

Why didn’t someone notice and do something?

My friend who joined us reached out to me two weeks ago with a message: “Hey, if y’all are going to do a girls’ outing to see ‘Cinderella’ and I wouldn’t be intruding, could I join y’all?”

Absolutely.  It would be our pleasure.  And it was.

It was so good to see her, to sit and laugh over the hideous dresses of the stepsisters and gasp at the wickedness of some in the movie and to agree that we like to sit until the credits are pretty much over.  Most of all, it was good to visit.  To catch up.  To share stories.  To check in with each other.

The greatest gift is that she wanted to be with us, and she said so.

That right there.

How would the story have been different if Ella (Cinderella) had been able to call up a friend and say, “Hey, I would really love to spend some time with you”?  Where was her tribe?  Her friends?  Her “biffle,” as my college girl calls her best friend?

And then the next question is begging to be asked:

Who am I supposed to be reaching out to?  Whom should I be checking in with?  Who has locked him or herself away, and needs a friend to help bring him/her out?

Tonight I’m thankful for my friend who reached out and made time to be with us.  For seeing an age-old story with new eyes and feelings, I am grateful.  In this world of busy-ness and to do lists and running here and there and yon with littles in tow, it is good to be reminded to be still.  Be quiet.  Listen and look.  To check in with those I care about, and help those who need to be free and loosened a little from their worries and woes.  To be a good friend.

Wishing you all someone who will do that for you.

Love to all.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

As I was wrapping up writing this post, I saw this shared by Love Wins Ministries, folks who know how important relationships are and work hard to get them right and make a positive difference.  I think this is spot on and wanted to share it with you.  

IMG_7207

Cinderella could have survived locked in the attic, but what kind of survival would that have been?  

Just a thought.  

 

 

 

Thursday’s Gonna Come

Two days of thought-provoking, soul-searching conversations filled with laughter and tears and wishing that “what is” could be better and dreaming of how we can make it so…..

and returning with a jolt to the real world of laundry and dishwashers with broken baskets and worrying over food allergies all over again and struggling to understand how your children have more cavities and wishing just this once this child could understand the assignment and get it done without all the struggles–

and all those first world kind of problems.

It would be easy to get on my pity pot and look upon all of this as an interruption.

An interruption to where my mind is going–thinking of what can be done, must be done, to make the world a better place–an interruption to the wheels spinning and all the IMPORTANT things that I MUST DO.

And then, just in the nick of time, I got an e-mail from one of my heroes.

One of the reasons he is my hero is I can look to him for a way to understand things, a way to take action–he sets a good example, and he is willing to share about his experiences so we can all learn from them.

Hugh Hollowell sent out a newsletter titled “The Interruptions Are Our Work.”

Well.

He was spot on with this one–timing and everything.

This man who shared his ideas and laughter and inspired me to dig deeper as we talked and listened Sunday and Monday–he continued on into Thursday.

And for that I am thankful.

Because, my friends, no matter what grand thoughts Sunday and Monday call you to have and think upon, Thursday will come.  With its laundry and coughs and worries and cavities.  It will come.

And here is the grace for Thursday, in the words of Hugh Hollowell of Love Wins Ministry:

“But I have come to see that that is okay. In fact, it’s good. Because more than ever, I can see that the interruptions to my work, the people who interrupt my work, well, they actually are my work. And there’s much work to be done.”

I do not mean to make light of the work that my friend and his staff are doing in North Carolina with people who are dealing with homelessness.  But I do find comfort in these words.  The interruptions are my work.

In this season.

For now.

For far too short a time, these little people and their needs–their meals, their learning, their dirty clothes, their laughter, and regretfully, yes, even their cavities–this is my work.

And I’m privileged to do it.  I just need a wake up call every now and again to remind me of that.

Today I read a comment in the world of social media that made me very sad.  This person wrote that caring for my children, for my home, for my aging parents, for an elderly relative–these things are not contributing to society.  He/she continued on to say that if I were out in the world caring for people who were not my own, whom I wasn’t “obligated” to care for, only then could it really be said that I am contributing to society.

It made me sad because I don’t think this person gets it.  And he or she obviously has never had the privilege and joy of hearing David LaMotte and Hugh Hollowell speak.  I distinctly heard them say that caring for those in our own homes, own families–that’s a part of changing the world for the better.

Tonight I’m thankful for that message.  For the knowing in my heart that what I’m doing matters–and I’m thankful that when I lose sight of that message–I can open up an email from my hero and mentor and read that all of these things that I think might be interruptions of the “important work” there is to do–

This is my important work.

Know this, my friends, what you are doing today matters.

I’m sorry, did you miss that?  Read it with me.

IMG_6730

What

you

are

doing

today

MATTERS.

Whether you are wiping runny noses or signing paychecks

whether you are singing “Let It Go” with your child for the 1,267th time

or planning a going away for a colleague

whether you are reading a book

or writing one

whether you are knitting a dress for your granddaughter’s doll

or buying one at the GW Boutique for your neighbor’s friend

WHAT YOU ARE DOING TODAY MATTERS.

The smile you choose to put on your face, in spite of your worries

The hug you give your grandmother who has aged so much since you last saw her

The friend you are driving to the doctor’s office

The cup of coffee you just rang up for the customer with the bad attitude and no cash for tips

The person you just let merge in front of you in traffic

The change you just dropped in the jar for the family in need

The song you carry in your heart

The shoulder you offer for others to lean and cry on

The laughter you share with another over a memory or joke

WHAT YOU ARE DOING TODAY MATTERS.

No matter where you are, what you are doing.  It is changing the world.

You don’t get a choice in that.

But you do get a choice in how it matters.  Whether it changes life for those around you for the better or not.

Even if they seem not to notice it.

It still matters.

Make it good.

Love to all.

 

####################################

Hugh Hollowell’s newsletter can be read in its entirety here.  I highly recommend signing up to receive those in your inbox.  You never know when they might change your day.  For the better.

The Stories That Brought Us Here

Demonstration of crochet chain stitch.

Demonstration of crochet chain stitch. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A new face joined us at Sister Circle yesterday.  Only the face wasn’t new to me.  She walked in and put her stuff down at the end seat exact opposite of mine.  Four of our regular sister friends were already there.  I looked over to say hello and welcome her, and my heart realized a split second before my mind did.  It whispered, I know her.

If she recognized me, she gave no indication, so I took her lead on that. We started with each person introducing herself, and she used a nickname that I didn’t know.  My mind carried on a conversation while I sought composure and to remember what we were doing next.  “Maybe it’s not her–it’s been a long, long time.  The name is different. You can’t be sure.”

But that voice.

And those eyes.

It was my friend from long ago.

After we shared our thoughts from the book we’ve been reading from by the Women of Magdalene, I offered paper, markers, colored pencils, mandalas, and construction paper in addition to crochet hooks and yarn for anyone who knew or wanted to learn how to crochet.  The others in the room chose the art.  She looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Yeah.  I’d like to learn to crochet.”

“Well come on over here and we’ll get started.”  I patted the seat next to me, all the way across the room from where she was sitting.

She gathered her bag and came over.  I asked about her favorite color as I had a selection of yarn in different shades and hues.  Since I didn’t have black, her favorite color, she chose the bright pink.  It would look really good with black, so it was the next best choice.  I showed her how to make a slip knot.  And then how to do the chain stitch.

I am not a good crochet or knitting teacher.  I can show you, but I can’t guide you as you are doing it, because I have to feel it in my hands to tell you if it’s right or wrong.  As I watched her trying to loop and pull back through, I coached her through it and we laughed that I had to keep taking it back to see what was the right way to turn the hook.

I watched her hands trying to coordinate and work together to create the chain that I would later add a circle to in order to create a “medallion” to honor our Sister Circle.  I had once watched those hands wrap around a softball bat.  She was a pretty good hitter if memory serves correctly.  And she used them as she teased and talked.  I remember that too, that teasing smile and how she would laugh.

“My Mama used to crochet.  Knit too,” she said.  “Not me, I never could, but she could do all that kind of stuff.  Made all kinds of things.”  Her Mama.  Her face came to my mind immediately.  I wondered where she was, how she was.  I wondered what happened.

In my three plus years of being in community and friendship with folks who are homeless or otherwise in need, I have seen a lot of faces and a lot of sadness and even a lot of joy.  I have heard some of their stories and wondered about others.  I have loved people who, one week, just didn’t come back and their stories were left floating out there without ever being heard.  But I have never seen a face and known the story from before…..before this.  I have never been a part of their story from before…..until now.

After we finished her medallion together, she put it on and said, “Cool.”  She gathered her things and stood up, preparing to leave.  “I’ve got to meet this girl and give her her stuff.  Sorry I gotta run.”

I looked up from gathering the yarn and hooks and scissors, “Hey, no, it’s not a problem.  I hope you’ll come back.”

“Yeah, I might.  Every Tuesday?”

“At 2.  Well ish.  We start as close to 2 as we can.”  I laughed.

“Okay.  See ya.”

And she was gone.

And I said nothing.

I don’t know what the right thing to do was.  I want her to know she matters, that I care, that I remember, that I love her. But I also want to show her respect.  If she doesn’t want us to bring up the past and the stories that brought her here, then I’m okay with that.  I just hope that she didn’t feel ignored or “less than” since I didn’t acknowledge our shared past.  Our friendship.  This was hardly a catch up in the aisles at Wal-Mart kind of situation.

I can only keep my fingers crossed and tell God how much she means to me and how much I want to be a support for her.  I am not sure why our paths crossed, but I’m glad they did. I find it ironic and totally apropos that I had planned the chain stitch for that day.  We are all connected in the chain of life.   I hope she will come back, if not next week then eventually.  It’s been a long time since the days of church youth, softball, and elementary and junior high.  Somehow I want to let her know that there’s still no story she can’t share with me.

And right now I just don’t know how best to do that.  I’ve spent the past day and night thinking about it, and I still have no good answers.

The thing is each person whom I meet in our Sister Circle or at Daybreak has a story of how he or she got there, not just my friend.  We all have those stories.  If my friend doesn’t come back at all, I will be very, very sad.  And worried–it’s what I do.  But tonight I am thankful for being with her, if ever so briefly, and I’m thankful for the reminder that we all need to know we matter and that we are cared for.  Every single one of us.  I am lucky to have friends and family who let me know this.  I think it’s up to those of us who have folks to remind us we matter to be that person for someone who doesn’t.

You matter and so does your story.  Pass it on.  And listen.

For now, it’s the best we can do.