Expectations, Script Writing, and the End of the World

Today a wise friend shared with me this sage advice that someone shared with her.

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Well.

I am a script writer from way back.  For as far back as I can remember I have plotted and played out in my mind how something should/could go.  I don’t know when it started, it’s just what I do.  When a twist or turn happens in life, the wheels immediately start turning on how to bring it back around.  How to fix it.  To incorporate the “plot twist” into where I wanted the script to go.  Ummm, yes.  And then it inevitably happens.

I get disappointed.

Because sometimes (and only occasionally, mind you) it’s not all about me.

And sometimes it’s someone else’s issues and choices and I just need to let it go.  Because no amount of script writing on my part can change someone else.  And when I forget that and think it can, I set myself up for the disappointment.

Why do I do that to myself?

I am thankful to know that I’m not the only one.  And to realize that, as my Mama would say, “This too shall pass.”  Most likely my disappointments and hurt feelings won’t kill me.  Yeah, they knock me for a loop, but it’s not the end of the world.  It might feel like it at the time, but more than likely, it’s really not the end.

I found a great story of another person who is a script writer, and it’s so funny, she actually recycles scripts–those from movies.  She took a trip to IKEA and had it all planned out how it should go.  It was supposed to be so fabulous.  And of course it was not the movie theater/happy ending experience she  had hoped it would be.  That she expected it to be.  She too shared the bit of advice my friend shared with me.  And then she shared this little tidbit:

I think it’s wonderful to know that while disappointments might not be fun or taste really great sometimes, they most likely will not kill us.  Check out her blog here.  It’s a delightful read.  And I highly recommend reading it when you are suffering from disappointment or have a refrigerator with only baby carrots in it.  Her story is the spoonful of sugar that Mary Poppins sang about.

Tonight I wish for us all some joy and laughter and a friend to remind us to let go and that it will be okay…..eventually.  A friend to have our back and to bring us baby carrots when we need to be reminded of the light and laughter in life.

May you continue to have merry memory-making!  Love to all.

Habitats and Hope, Happy Birthdays and Hanging On

This past Friday the littles and I went to Go Fish Education Center down in Perry.  This is a beautiful facility that is run by DNR.  The exhibits are interactive, and they have different areas set up like the waters of the different parts of Georgia, from the mountain streams up north to the swamps down south.  You can even borrow a fishing pole and sit out by the pond and try your luck at fishing.  It’s mostly a catch and release program, but in certain months (like October) you can take home what you catch.

They have started holding classes for homeschool students once a month.  We decided to try it last month and we were hooked (ha, no pun intended–seriously, just caught it in editing).  So this past Friday was our second class with Miss Clare, the Center Educator.  She taught about Habitats.  To begin with each child took a card with an animal on it.  Miss Clare asked each one to stick them on the map of Georgia in the habitat they thought best suited their animal.

Cooter drew a shark in the Habitat game.  He grinned really big and gave me a thumbs up.  He knew where to put this one.

Cooter drew a shark in the Habitat game. He grinned really big and gave me a thumbs up. He knew where to put this one.

The thing that we learned was some animals are adaptable and can live in different type habitats–like foxes, raccoons, and even some snakes.

Our state with the animals in their habitats.

Our state with the animals in their habitats.

After that the children played a game which demonstrated how limited resources (food, water, shelter) can affect the population and length of life of the animals.  In the game, after the first couple of “years” the population dwindled–too many deer and not enough of what they needed to live.  The children were running back and forth finding what they needed (or not as the case may be), laughing and enjoying the cool morning.  In the midst of the fun, the sobering reality hit me head on.

They played another game of hide and seek, with each person attempting to be a rabbit camouflaged so the fox couldn’t find him or her.  They really enjoyed that one.  Then we moved inside the facility to discuss the fish and other aquatic life in their habitats.

This is a school of goldfish.  They are in the gator habitat.  Only the gators won't eat them, so trout were put in to get the goldfish population under control.  Only they travel in "schools" so they look like one big fish, thus confusing the trout and saving their lives.  What do the gators eat?  Mice.  Apparently they get their calcium (bones), fiber (hair), and protein and vitamins (meat) all in one delicacy.  Oh if only it were that easy around here!

This is a school of goldfish. They are in the gator habitat. Only the gators won’t eat them, so trout were put in to get the goldfish population under control. Only they travel in “schools” so they look like one big fish, thus confusing the trout and saving their lives. What do the gators eat? Mice. Apparently they get their calcium (bones), fiber (hair), and protein and vitamins (meat) all in one delicacy. Oh if only it were that easy around here!

I learned the most in the gator exhibit.  That whole traveling as a school saving the lives of the goldfish.  Isn’t that amazing?  They feed the gators mice, which is an all dietary needs met kind of meal for that crew.  I wish I could find something comparable to serve here.

It was a wonderful morning of learning, laughter, and play.  As we left I saw these beautiful flowers.  It struck me how with all around them drying up and withering away, they were full of life and beauty–sort of blooming where they were planted kind of thing going on there.

These flowers seemed to crop up out of nothing.  Beautiful, aren't they?

These flowers seemed to crop up out of nothing. Beautiful, aren’t they?

Today Aub was following behind me across town on our way to our Sister Circle.  While we were parking my phone rang and it was Aub.  I looked in my rearview mirror.  Yep, she was back there.  Car looked okay.

“What?” I answered.  Yeah, I’m that kind of loving Mama.

“I think….I mean, I’m pretty sure…..is that a frog on my door?”

I was grabbing my supply bag and getting ready to close my car door. “I don’t know, get out and see.”

“I can’t.  Unh uh.”

I looked back.  She was still sitting in her car.  Cooter ran over and started jumping up and down, pretty much a confirmation that an amphibian had taken up residence.  I walked over.  Yep, a frog.

Note the college girl in the driver's seat holding her phone for dear life.  I have no idea how long he'd been riding like that, but you are correct, he does look a bit pale.  Probably terrified out of his mind.  What must he have thought when he found himself hanging on for dear life ONA CAR zippadeedoodahing down the road?

Note the college girl in the driver’s seat holding her phone for dear life. I have no idea how long he’d been riding like that, but you are correct, he does look a bit pale. Probably terrified out of his mind. What must he have thought when he found himself hanging on for dear life ON A CAR zippadeedoodahing down the road?

We regrouped and left him to his own devices to recover and went in for our Sister Circle.  My sweet sisters were already there and waiting.  We had great conversation and a lot of fun creating with a different way of painting, but that’s a story for another night.  One of our sisters, T, decided to use her favorite thing, the markers, to make her picture.  She drew this:

Home sweet home.  If only.

Home sweet home. If only.

When I walked over and admired her picture, I realized that this was a theme for her.  She draws houses and homes with birds or rainbows or sunshine.  My heart broke in that moment.  My dear sister friend is like the deer running out of resources.  I am not sure of her living situation, but I know it is not ideal.  She has been mistreated and abused by people she called friends and whom she trusted.  She has had moments, too many of them, feeling like those rabbits hiding from the fox.  She might have shelter but she doesn’t have sanctuary.  She might have food but her soul is starving.  She is trying to bloom in the midst of all around her.  I know she is, she has dreams and she’s shared some of them.  But like that frog today, I am afraid she is looking around, thinking where am I?  How did I get HERE?  And how on earth do I get off of this ride?  Please?!

There are many T’s in this world, in our own little community.  Living in habitats that are not fit for any living thing or person.  I have watched a dear friend stumble out from behind a dumpster sitting next to local restaurant.  Where he had been “LIVING.”  If he had been a dog, I know full well someone would have picked him up and cared for him before then.  How did we, our world, our people, our sisters and brothers, get to this point?  Adaptability in habitats is one thing, but no one should live like that.  Or like T is either.

Today is T’s birthday.  I didn’t know, but two of our sister friends did and they brought her some gifts they’d gotten especially for her.  I saw her hang her head and be overcome with shyness.  But I also saw something else.  Something that shone light through my broken heart and filled me with hope.  I saw this school of fish that protects each other from harm gather T in and hold her close.  I saw them care and I saw them love.  It wasn’t about the gifts, though that was so precious of them.  It was about them noticing her and taking her into their fold.  That right there people.  I am humbled.  And inspired.

Today is T’s birthday and my friend Baddest Mother Ever‘s birthday too.  When I was in the midst of my most vulnerable times, she gathered me into her “school” and made me feel safe and cared for.  Both of these women are important to me.  Both of them, so different, yet so much alike–they both inspire me with their stories and with their resiliency and with their unending capacity to love.

Today T gave me her picture.  On her birthday, she gave ME her picture of her “home.”

I was honored and touched by her heart.  I will keep it to remind me of our dreams and that until we all have a safe place to lay our heads, none of us can truly sleep well.

Before she left, I gave T this.  I had nothing else to give her but my love, which she already has.

20131022-222721.jpgIt’s nothing much.  I gave it to her with a hug and a whisper about dreaming and birthday wishes and walking with her to see them come true.  This is my birthday wish for T and for Baddest Mother Ever too.  I love you both, and this is what I want for you.  For your heart’s desire, for your very special wish from your heart, for that to be granted.  For there always to be a school of folks ready to gather you in and stay right by your side. For you to continue to be strong and share your stories with the world so they will know about beauty in brokenness and hope in the dark.  And for you to find strength in your weakness and find a way to hang on during those bumpy rides.  Most of all, I want you both to know how much you are loved.  And treasured.  Because you are.  ❤

Broken Pieces and the Beauty of the Big Picture

Ah the chaos that Tuesday brings.  Once again.

And also the joy.

Today was Sister Circle day again.  We have become quite the group.  What started out as “let me offer paper and markers so folks can doodle while we talk” has turned into an art and talk and share and help each other session.

Love it.

When I got there and was inviting folks to come in and join us, one lady laid her hand on my arm and asked, “Are you doing the beads today? Making jewelry?”  (We made bracelets and necklaces with beads last week.)

“Oh, I’m sorry, ” I replied, “but no.  We’re not.”

She looked so sad, but when I mentioned we were going to gather and do something else, her whole face lit up.  One of our other new regulars asked her to come.  I was ecstatic.

We had several of our regulars in attendance, but T and K were not there, which again, worried me.  Relationships can be tough in any circumstance, but when you are vulnerable and in need, they can be particularly hard.  I hope they are okay.

Today we talked about the eighth principle of Magdalene from “Find Your Way Home: Words from the Street, Wisdom from the Heart” by Rev. Becca Stevens.  “Let God sort it all out.”

The phrase alone brought nods and sounds of agreement from this group of beautiful and strong women I sat with today.  We talked about how hard it is to let go.  To wait.  To sit back and NOT try to make things happen on our own.  Somehow the conversation shifted into talking about the mindset of our culture–“I want it and I want it now.”  Fast food, waiting “too long” in a grocery store or Wal-Mart line.  The words “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should” came out.  That one really hit home with me.  Needs versus wants–we talked a lot about that one and how confusing it is.  Hard stuff.

And yet so good.

In preparation for our art pieces, we took strips of construction paper and tore them into bits, focusing on tearing up the things that we had a hard time letting go of–thoughts, control, words, pain, emotions, memories, darkness, sadness, brokenness.  As we tore, we tried to really think about letting go of these things that had such a hold on us.

I even tried NOT to tear them evenly and consistently.  Really trying to improve my inner artist and work my way outside of the lines.

I really did try NOT to tear them evenly and consistently. I AM trying to improve my inner artist and work my way outside of the lines. *sigh*  There’s always next time.

We then glued our pieces together in a mosaic.  The idea is that we have all these little broken pieces in our life, and that is hard because we can’t see the big picture sometimes.  But there is One who can see it, and it is beautiful.  Broken pieces and all.

I designed a boat with my pieces.  I had it sailing on dark waters, reminding me I do actually have to leave the safety of the harbor to get anywhere or do anything.  My boat was extra big because there are people who will travel with me on whatever journey I’m on, and that is a comfort and something I need to remember, especially when the seas are stormy.

I love what came out of my sweet sisters’ minds and hearts and worked its way onto paper.  As we created, we talked and laughed and shared.  A beautiful time.

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N is definitely an artist.  She loves portraits.  When we worked with watercolors, she painted a portrait of me, which touched my heart and made me cry.  This is a mosaic of a man.  She is a very quiet, introspective soul, so it was an honor to hear her share about her work.

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B cracked me up.  As she tore her pieces, she chatted away.  “I’m not tearing mine small.  Y’all sure are tearing yours small.  I like this big.  Anyone going to tell me mine’s don’t look good?  Cause I like ’em big like this.”  I love that her pieces were bright and vivid and bold, because that is every bit who she is.  When she shared she talked about how these were her baby girl’s favorite colors, and she was making this for her.  B plans to put this on her refrigerator, as soon as she gets her “some of those things that hold them on.”  I’d smell a future project, but I don’t want to leave out those without a refrigerator or a home.  We’ll see.  I love B’s chattiness and teasing nature with these women whom she has come to know so well.

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When G shared about her mosaic, she said, “My life used to be all red, black, and blue, but now I have sunshine in my life.”  (She added the orange after she shared, almost as an afterthought, so I didn’t get to ask what that color represented.)  G went to art school for a while, so she enjoys the art in a different way.  She has a lot of pain and brokenness in her past, and I hope she was able to let a tiny bit go when she shared today. As she moved the little pieces this way and that, she said, “I just have to give it all to God and let the pieces fall where they may.”  I love that.  It is her piece in a nutshell.  Letting go. A little bit at a time.  Healing is a lifelong process, I am afraid.

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My friend, sweet P.  She is a helper.  She drives several of these ladies where they need to be, including our Sister Circle.  A quiet leader of sorts.  I wondered where she was going as she tore, but I really love her story.  Each “block” stands for a holiday and the colors are coordinating with each one.  From top left–Thanksgiving, Easter, New Year’s with all the fireworks and confetti–so colorful, Valentine’s with the pink and red, Christmas and Christmas again, and then 4th of July.  P said these are the happiest times for her as she and her family gather together many times, but especially for the holidays.  Her love of her family is evident.  I wonder if she’s the oldest–she seems to have the protective Mama Bear posture about her.  And that is one of the things I love about her.  (And it’s not just because when we talked about this, she said I did NOT look old enough to be a grandmother. Love. Her.)

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Speaking of family, this is R’s work.  She is a part of P’s family.  Here she made a mosaic of a home with sunshine and clouds above, grass all around and a door–that is open.  Open to family and friends and whoever needs to come in.  She shared that if she had to choose one word to live by it would be “share.”  Wow.  That blew me away.  She talked about being in recovery for six years now (You Go, Miss R!) and how she has come so far from those days, and yet she has to fight it every single day of her life.  “When I was in the darkness and the brokenness, I was into everything.  But now I’m into light.”  Oh. My.  Land.  Bless her.  She has a voice with important things to say.  It is an honor to hear her share.  She talked about having peace now, and how “did you know, some folks don’t even have peace?”  B answered, “Uh huh, I want me one.”  I just love these women, every single one.  It moved me to tears when R talked about how much fear had taken from her all those years.  Like she wasn’t even really alive.  Amen, sister friend, amen.

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Miss A was the last one to share.  My new friend.  The one who had taken my arm and was so excited to come and be a part of our group.  She was so timid in the beginning, unsure if I had a certain way or certain thing I wanted her to create.  No ma’am, I assured her, you do it just how you want and it’s yours to take with you.  She smiled at that and worked so diligently.  She said that all of these colors reminded her of nature and that made her happy.  We talked about how we are made in the image of a Creator and so that means that there is an artist inside each of us–we’d shared this a couple of weeks back.  I love that her picture reminds us of that, and I adore her pieces and their lack of uniformity.  It is imperfectly perfect.  I hope she continues to find joy in it.  As she left she asked me if we would be back tomorrow.  “No, next Tuesday.”  She nodded and smiled broadly.  “I’ll be here.  I sure will.”  So thankful for her stepping away from her safe harbor and joining us today.

Today with these bold and beautiful and precious women, I sat and was enthralled.  With their stories, with the assuredness that comes from being broken but not torn, from hurt but not anger, from love not hatred.  They amaze me, and I find myself looking forward to next Tuesday, to hear what wisdom will float through the room, looking for a place to land, in the midst of laughter and Black Cherry Cola and art supplies.

Glitter.  Someone asked for glitter today.  Oh my sweet sister friends, you outshine glitter by a thousandfold with your endearing smiles and resilient spirits and your willingness to share–fried chicken, napkins, glue, and advice.  I love you.  And because of that, you shall have your glitter.  But it can never be as beautiful as that which you sprinkled on my soul today.  Thank you.

Previews…..the hint of good things to come

Sneak Previews

Sneak Previews (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I originally wrote this on 9 August 2008.  Thought I’d dust it off and share it with y’all tonight. 

I had the great joy today of going to the movies.  I haven’t been in over two years, so I was very excited and maybe a bit nervous that I pick just the right one to see, as it could be another two years before I get to go again.  Wow.  Prices have changed, but little else has.  The smell, the lights, the movie posters everywhere.  My friend, who blessed me by asking me to join her, led me to the right popcorn and coke line, where we got our small sizes of each.  We headed to the theater where the lights had already dimmed and the “Please turn off your cell phone” message was playing.  We found our seats and I settled in—here I am—entertain me!

As the previews began, I was mesmerized.  The first movie, hmmm, not so much.  I don’t remember the title.  I just know it won’t even make my “hey, let’s watch this on TV” list.  The next two, though, seemed to be full of energy and action, with plots that would keep one laughing, crying, and wanting more.  I was amazed that the producers could put together just the right clips to make me want to come back for more…..tomorrow…..I don’t want to wait two more months!  As the theater darkened, getting ready for the feature movie, I sighed.  I love the previews.  I could have gone home happy then.  I know so many people who groan and moan about the previews on DVD’s  and how they can’t just skip over them.  I must confess—were it just me watching—I would let them play, taking it all in, even if it was for a movie I’d already seen.  I love the previews.

The movie started, and it hit me how some of the best moments in my life have been previews.  The first time I saw each of my three children—what a preview!  A tiny little tadpole looking critter, whose only indication of life was a microscopic little heartbeat that brought me to tears.  They each had other previews, later sonograms…..and maddeningly enough to some folks, I turned my head during the most crucial time, so I could be surprised when they actually made their opening scene.  Did I mention I really love it when they don’t show all of the best scenes in the previews?  Previews that leave me giddy with anticipation and wondering? Yes please.

When each one took her/his first step, it was a preview of the times they’d run to me with open arms for a hug, turn away from me in frustration, or leave me behind for their very first “all by my big self” adventure.  When each spoke his/her first word, it was a preview of all they would share—the “I love you,” the “I can’t stand you,” the “you’re the best, Mama.”  When each dressed him/herself for the first time, it was a preview of the self-expression that makes each one so unique and precious and treasured.  Each day with each one is a preview of the people they are becoming, with every moment and with every breath.

When I first met the man I would marry and he held my hand, I had a preview of our life together—someone who would listen, someone who would walk beside me and share the journey, someone who would offer a hand—a hand up, a clap to cheer me on, or a hug when I need it.

At our wedding six years ago, I had a preview of a friendship that I would come to treasure.  Never would I have guessed back then that the person whom I had only briefly met, who gave so selflessly and took it upon herself to set up and decorate our reception area would, six years later, be sitting next to me in a dark theater, laughing and literally “rejoicing” with me over a movie that we both so connected with.

Our world gives us previews too.  The first flower that pokes its head up through the soil gives us a glimpse of the spring and summer to come.  The first blossoms on the peach trees leave us anticipating that first bite into the first juicy, ripe, sweet peach of the season.  The first cool morning towards the end of a sweltering summer gives us a preview and a reminder that fall will come.  The clouds and brisk winds brings to mind the precious rain that will fall down and nourish our earth.  Some plots are too good to be improved upon.

Previews.  What is to come for us.  The little things that make us come back for more—to seek more–and the delightful surprises that play out when we do.  That’s what is so wonderful and mystical about this life.  We are constantly getting previews of the good things to come.  Sometimes we just have to take a moment to sit quietly and look around.  And then get ready—the best is yet to come!

Weathering the Storms

I remember when my brother first introduced me to Frederick Buechner.

He shared this quote with me, and I was hooked.  And thankful.

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
― Frederick Buechner, A Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC

Another version of the quote is, “Vocation is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

Good stuff.  And it gave me freedom to believe that I might possibly be on the right track in my life.  That’s really good stuff.

Since then I’ve been paying more attention to Mr. Buechner and his thoughts.

Many an atheist is a believer without knowing it just as many a believer is an atheist without knowing it.  You can sincerely believe there is no God and live as though there is.  You can sincerely believe there is a God and live as though there isn’t.”

-Frederick Buechner, originally published in Wishful Thinking and later in Beyond Words

That one calls for intentionality and focus in the choices we make every moment of every day.  Hard to do, but we have to try for the Light to shine through the darkness and for Love to win.

Then today there was this.

pic of buechner quote

Beneath our clothes, our reputations, our pretensions, beneath our religion or lack of it, we are all vulnerable both to the storm without and the storm within.” –Frederick Buechner

This moved me to tears.  We are all more alike than different.   It’s true, isn’t it?  We all face storms, and we need to give each other grace in that.  Underneath it all, we are the same.

Tonight I am thankful for Mr. Buechner and his thought-provoking messages. When I am facing storms it seems like people–family, friends, sister friends, even people I happen to meet for a moment–just come out of the woodwork to help me through it.  With laughter, with love, with presence.  If I will let them.  And that’s it.  Some people aren’t lucky like that–to have people who care enough to walk alongside, holding an umbrella.  And some people hold it all inside and don’t let others know about the storms.  And so they face it alone.

And that’s what breaks my heart.  For all of us.  For the ones weathering the storms alone and for those of us who don’t know…..I guess Mr. Buechner really explained it best when he said, “Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.”

This morning my friend Baddest Mother Ever reminded me of the song we sang at our eighth grade graduation: “Let There Be Peace On Earth.”

Let there be peace on earth,

And let it begin with me.

Amen.

Yeah, She Makes Me Crazy But Don’t Anybody Else Mess With Her

I grew up as the oldest of two sisters and a baby brother.   My sisters born 3 and 5 years after me are 17 months apart.  For a long time we were referred to as “Tara and the girls.”  I liked it, them probably not as much.

pic of sister love

Growing up my sisters, either as a team or individually, could make me crazy.  They could make choices that would confuse me to no end or they would do things that were seemingly done for the sole purpose of aggravating me.  Yes, l could and did complain about them on any number of occasions.  (And I even tattled once or twice. Ahem.)

But don’t let me hear anybody else say anything bad about either one of them.  That’s how it was growing up.  I could fuss about either one until the cows came home and then some, but the first word out of someone else’s mouth and I would come undone.  I guess I was (and maybe still am) the kind of sister who came out, bat swinging, saying “Where are they?”

In the past two days, I’ve been reminded of us as the team we were growing up.  Mess Cat, Sister, and I worked together and made some big stuff happen.  Because we love each other, and because no matter what foolishness we were talking two, six, twenty-four, or 144 months ago, that’s what our family does.  Steps up and takes care of their own.

I can remember when Daddy would drive us all to school together in his truck.  Mess Cat’s hair wasn’t done one morning because we were all running late, and it was our own faults.  I reached over and fixed it as best I could while we were in the truck.  I felt so bad for her and wanted to make it right.  Years later when my previous life fell apart, she was the one who came to me and walked me through the journey of moving–walked nothing, she made it happen.

I remember going and getting Sister from her first grade classroom after school and watching her hug her new friends goodbye.  I took her hand and we walked together to where Mama had parked to pick us up.  The night before my college graduation and the day we had to be moved out of the dorms, Sister came back to campus and took my hand–she helped me pack and eventually told me to go to sleep and she’d finish up.

That’s how we roll.  Together we can be a force to be reckoned with.  Ask our brother, I’m sure he’s felt the Force a time or two.

So I reflect on the experience of the past two days–Mess Cat taking the littles so I could be with Sister as she brought new life into the world, Sister being so much stronger than I could ever imagine, and the tears I held back in the face of memories and fear and exhaustion.  We were a team, and it just felt right.

This new life that has been thrust upon us–of being the grownups now that Mama and Daddy are beyond–is hard.  And I think the hardest part is not being able to fix everything simply by holding a hand or by brushing bangs this way or that.  Life is so much more complicated and painful than that.  So.  Much.  More.

Because no matter how aggravated I get with either of them (and it doesn’t happen much at all anymore–this new life of grownuphood is teaching tolerance and respect and that life’s too short for all that junk), I still want to throttle anyone who is hurting them.  I want to fix whatever situation is frustrating them.  And I want to tuck them in at night and wish them sweet dreams or stay up late and giggle once again, all of us together, sharing whispered secrets under the cover of darkness and quiet and innocence.

But it can’t be.  So we visit when we can.  We listen to each other’s concerns and support whatever choices each is making the best way we can.  In the midst of the chaos of spouses and children and washing clothes and dishes and working and taking care of pets and houses and vehicles and (every now and then) ourselves, we somehow try to communicate that if one ever needs another, we’re all here.

And yesterday we proved that.

If you have a sister, call her.  No matter what junk has come between you, if there’s any joy in the memories you have of her at any time in your lives, tell her.  Hug her if she’s close by.  Because life is too short to let all that get in the way of love and sisterhood.  And there’s just way too much that sisters can’t fix when we get older.  That’s what is breaking my heart the most.

And if you don’t have a sister, call your friend.  You know, the one who makes you laugh because she tells the greatest stories about life and real stuff and can laugh with you through all your stories too.  That friend who tells you to take care of yourself and threatens to hound you until you do.  That friend that takes the time to check on you and see how you’re doing on a regular basis.  Give thanks and give a shout out to her.

And if fixing things for her is not an option, and way too often it’s not, give a hug, lend an ear, and just love her no matter what.  They are gifts, sisters and sister friends, and those are the kind of gifts to be treasured.  Life begins and ends and what comes in between is what we make of it, with the ones with whom we surround ourselves.

So what I’m saying is, go love on a sister.  Love may not be able to fix everything, but it can hold your hand when things are a mess, give you a high-five when “you done good,” and wipe your tears when your heart breaks.

May your days be filled with more joy than sadness, more peace than turmoil, and lots more laughter than tears–and for the days that seem broken and lost, may you find a sister or sister friend there to hear you and to walk alongside you through the pain. I love you all, my sisters and sister friends.