A Letter To A Friend – The Art of Noticing “Real” Friends

Today is Day 22

Dear You,

I want to proclaim you, rejoice you, celebrate you and delight in you. Have you seen this series, here, this 31 Days, The Art of Noticing? Well my dear today is Day 22 and today is your birthday. Here ,this tribute is for you, to you, your heart, your soul but above all, your amazing ability to draw on the gifts and life around you. To ingest them, invest  them by serving and loving. Here is your bursday present. You know how much I adore the you I have grown to know and love.

harriett stoney and elizabeth happy

You know we could discuss the title. For hours. What is a real friend anyway. And we could debate the meaning of true and real. Afterall what is a unreal friend. You know maybe you are an unreal friend.

Do you remember last year on October 22, your birthday, I wrote a little letter to you, here, it was called Encouragement, A Letter To A Friend.  A few people read that letter, 2,028 to be exact from around the interweb. And you and I would scratch our heads and wonder how they found this place and the letter I wrote to you. And we’d probably agree how happy we are a few more people discovered when your birthday is. That is good. Or maybe we’d celebrate the fact they they get to hear my testimony to what you are and who you are to this world, and especially me.

That was a year ago. People forget. And we hate it when people repeat themselves. It is so boring. So gauche. And so not charming. So I won’t say it exactly like I did last year. They can go back and read that post. H, do you know the reason this blog is here. Because you are an encourager. And you serve up straight talk without a side of sugar coating. You are a giver, not a taker, an inexhaustible source of encouraging words and actions. You told me I had to write. Your words were stronger than that. Gentle and bold. Sure and certain.

So it is only appropriate for this to be the place to weave words, string them along and along, like the strand of pearls you so faithfully wear. And that you would have a day. Day 22. Do you like that.
You would goad me and tease me and remind me to always point to Him. So I will, He has saved our backsides and frontsides and insides so many times. And loved us. Always loved us with mercy and grace. And you, his hands and feet, have saved me from despair and sadness. Confusion and the “I’m about to have a nervous breakdown but it is just so damn inconvenient right now” times.

So is that a real friend? One who loves through the dark and delights in the times of light and laughter. Bridges the bleak times and weak times, the  times of want, crossing over to the times of plenty.

There are no shortages of those. By his grace. And we like those better don’t we. The times on the porch, at the farm, in the creek, at Secret Beach, where we can have olive shell contests and laugh and dream and scheme and relish the in between. We prefer the days of poetry and praise, of watching our children grow, fall in love, accomplish a task, overcome a set back, bring home a friend who gives life and knows Truth. Become a woman or a man, of God.

We’d prefer to float in our boats with our men. To leave behind the worry of work and the pressures of life. To see them exhale and breathe in salt air. To open a beer and slip in a lime and wiggle our toes and let go of time. To see the very last streak of orange and pink. To  stay off shore until we have to come in. To turn up the music and dance crazy silly in our hearts.

And we  go without days, though painful and dry, without talking or saying a word. But running on fumes of love that is stored. Deep in the places where friendship is placed. Though trials have come, some that are too awful to name, we know in our knowers that if we face them again, we can and we will. Because we are real friends.

And you know I would say it again, like I did before. If you go first, save me a seat. And warm a Charleston Green rocker with a wonderful view of the sea. Because we know our God well and we know our God deep. And there is no way  in this world that His heaven won’t have a wonderful view of the porpoise and shrimp boats on Jeremy Creek.

I love you. You bless me every single day of my life. I can’t remember before I knew you but I know there were years. You make life exciting and beautiful, glamorous and fantabulous.

Happy birthday, H. If you go first I will never forgive you. But then you would insist that I do. So okay I will. But I’d rather you not leave me a day on this earth, to live and to breathe and to celebrate living.

Take care of yourself.
Happy Day of Your Birth

I love you, I do. Happy Day 22.

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(Today is Day 22. Thank you as always for being here, for following along on this journey. If you wish to leave a birthday wish to my precious friend H, I will pass it on to her. She is my confidant, my accountability partner, my sister in Christ, and my closest friend. We raise children and husbands together and walk out our faith together with love and friendship and lots and lots of words between us.)

Harriett and I and the cross

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The Weaning

Spencer and the dolphin

THE WEANING

I notice you
Noticing me
We walk as women now
In tandem
But hours and towns separate us
Birth was  yesterday
It appears to me
I weep
Even at the thought of your leaving
Tomorrow shrouds my soul
Today
Hope is your middle name
And I am left
Mine is Grief
Stay young my child
Simply
Stay young at heart
My feathered nest
Plucked  from my breast
Internal ticking
Tells  me it is nearly time
For you to  find
Places you’ll call home
I bind up
Prepare
So to wean an aching heart
Good bye my child
It is nearly time for you to go
You who started in my womb
Too soon you said hello

To places outside of me.

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Today is Day 10. Joining Emily at Emily Wierenga dot com for Imperfect Prose

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The Turning: In Which Around Every Corner Is A Discovery

shrimp boats on at night

Often they are small. And then other times they are wonderful and large, looming truths about life. They hover like ebony rain-packed  summer clouds in the afternoon. Or they float by like seeds blown from a spent dandelion. They are coming and going. A constant force to be reckoned with. They are hatchlings and seedlings and fledglings of this life.

Birthed in unexpected places and moments, they appear. And I am called to be vigilant and at peace. A combination of human emotion that allows tender and tough to co-exist. Tender enough to capture the magnificence. And tough enough to know that in the netting, there will be objects that must be released. It is not all glory and it is not all beauty. But seeking the lovely, the grace-filled and the glorious requires casting the net into the life seas.

In a state of watchful child-like wonder I can live this season of my life in a state of re-born newness. Like a bivalve cracks open and lets the water flow in and out, receiving and releasing. Keeping the nutrients, releasing the sediments. I am called to continually take in the discoveries of my life. I would starve on a diet of bland, if I never crack open the door to wonder. I would miss the shades of blue on the hydranga that go to purple, lavender and aqua. And  the hidden greens waiting to decide which color to be.

We would never know the way rain feels, dropping from a summer storm on warm tanned flesh if we remain cocooned in dry places. One more day reveals one more smell or taste, never before experienced.

And words of an eighteen year old child who want to tell their story get tangled in my net. I can choose.  I choose to  listen and realize there is more than the words unfurling from the man/child lips. There is a heart of curiosity and trust. There is his own discovery needing a place to land and light.

In a moment or two, a child will awake from her warm quilted bed in an air-conditioned room and tell me of her ten day mission trip. She has gone away and seen poverty and a world outside of her own. She and her passport are back. And there are stories to gently receive.

A parent lives a layered life of discovery. Because she holds the key to seeing through a child’s glistening eyes. Her own, the ones who look to her and call her momma. And it magnifies the wonder. For at once she is receiving discovery  through her own glassy portals  and stooping down to see through the eyes of those she is raising.

If I see with open wonder and a seeking heart, will I show my children how even in my fifty-fourth year of life, the beauty never ends. The unveiling never stops. And his Kingdom is filled with marvelous intricate designs. That art is living, breathing, waiting, hoping, pulsing all around.

And I am in this middle place. I see through the eyes of my aging mother too. The joys rebounding in her life. The strange and child-like discovery that is hers as she moves through her days. She forgets and then she remembers. And if I can learn to refine a listening heart,  I will hear the most intricate details of a woman, a mother and another poet’s life.

Around every corner is a discovery.  I will raise my net.

And bend into a low and listening stance, ever vigilant, ever watchful. Filled with the ready knowing that something is waiting. And that something is beautiful.

I will round the corner at a slow and steady gait. One that expects to not miss a single fleck floating in the sun-soaked or moon-drenched air.

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Joining Jennifer and Emily

On Vulnerability and Brene Brown: The Road To Joy, Part One


hat on the boatWe are little communities of me’s, I’s and selves.

And sticking our feet into the water of vulnerbility or diving straight in and swimming freely around can be a lonely act. Or a cleansing act.

(Please join me for the rest of my words on vulnerability over at Emily Wierenga’s where I am hosting Emily’s Imperfect Prose on Thursday, Join me and other writers as we explore redemption, in words, in life and in community.) And would you consider returning tomorrow for Part Two of my post “Vulnerability: The  Road to Joy”.

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Joining dear Jennifer for #tellhisstory at Jennifer Dukes Lee dot com