I went to this ballet once, on a date. "The Prodigal Son." It was short, but it was one of the best and most beautiful things I have seen, which is saying a lot since I feel like I have been blessed to have a life filled with beautiful things. Some of you might have seen it before and if you haven't you should.
It's a story I have heard so many times but seeing it instead of hearing/reading it was the best medium for me. So the story is, the Father has two sons, one works hard, the other lazes out and asks for his inheritance and skips town to get wasted and spend time with harlots. Then, when he runs out of money he comes back home (after eating pig slop. So gross.) And this is the part - this is the part that melts my insides. His father opens his arms, and tells him to come back with open arms. He throws him a party and busts out the fatted calf and the other brother is pissed understandably but the father isn't concerned about being fair. He's just happy to have his son back and opens his arms anyway.
So when I saw this ballet on stage, the Prodigal son dances his heart out when he runs out of money and everything. He almost falls apart he is dancing with so much shame. And he limps back to his dad and the dad lets him in his arms, and the orchestra swells and there was not a dry eye in that room (except for my date, which is how I knew he was definitely not the one.)
We talked about forgiveness yesterday in church, and I felt the same way I did when I saw that ballet. And I realized this thing about forgiveness and that is, that it is the summation of love. It embodies exactly what love is - it is the best definition I have. We all hurt each other. Every single one of us. And we say things we don't mean and we offend each other and we are mean to the people we love the most. Which is why we have got to forgive each other. We have to.
The whole lesson I just kept thinking of this part of Wendell Berry's poem To My Mother (one of my faves, please read the whole thing here.) I hate being the weird girl who always brings up poetry in church (you know who you are) which is why I have a blog. Because in the poem he says:
"And this, then,
is the vision of that Heaven of which
we have heard, where those who love
each other have forgiven each other."
If that's what heaven is like, I don't want to be anywhere else.
I have been thinking a lot about making friends as an adult. This article spurred the thought, but moving to a new place has really made me think about it too. I'm in the process of making new friends, and I have met some of the nicest people ever so far, but we are still in the new stages of friendship. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I feel like most of my friends were inherited (see photo above.) We grew up together, we stayed friends, we married guys who get along. So even though I have made new friends over the years I didn't really need to, if that makes sense. I already had friends. But coming to Arizona and starting all over has been a different story. (Even though I have Liz with me here, albeit 30 minutes away. Ignore this L & B, I'm not talking about you.)
What I've found so far though, is that making new friends as a married woman is entirely different than making friends as a single college student. You're not just making friends with a girl or a guy - you are making friends with a couple. And instead of calling up a couple to come chill and watch TV with you, you have to plan things. A "dessert party", "game night (THIS MEANS CATCH PHRASE EVERY TIME"), a "make your own pizza night!" or my personal favorite, "potluck."
Don't get me wrong, I usually have fun at all of those things, but I hate the formality of it. The awkwardness when the night ends as though you're saying goodnight to your first date and you don't want to kiss him at the door. The planning part that is always left up to the wives which is probably why it becomes formal. The get-to-know-you questions like, "Where did you two meet?", "How long have you been married?", "What did you both study?" I want to rip my hair out when people ask me those things because the answers to those questions ARE SO BORING. And I ask them back to people not because I care, but because that's what you do. You ask questions with boring answers.
But what am I supposed to do? Tell the girls that I'm interested in hanging out with them but I don't care if they bring their husbands? And also that husbands are optional? I mean, I like couple friends sometimes but not every time. I'm not really sure what I'm looking for. I've talked about it with my sisters and mom and they all laugh and admit that things become more formalized after you are married. You could just show up like in the college days and play Xbox and order a pizza and then end up at Sonic for cream slushes... but you don't. You have formal dinner parties and game nights like your parents did. I have left so many of those activities and feel like I know less about the people I was there with than when the night started. I mean, I knew how long they have been married, and where they are from but not the important stuff like how bad their homemade polenta tasted (of course it was terrible - it's polenta) or what their crazy cat lady neighbor did yesterday morning or whether they are Team Peeta or Team Gale. You know, the important stuff.
Also, married people want to go to bed early which I used to think was embarrassing but I find myself doing the same thing. Why do we have to go to bed early? So we can watch a couple hours of Breaking Bad before bed and fall asleep around 1 am? Why not stay out a little later with our friends? - Oh yeah. Because they are all couple friends and they all go to bed early too.
What I really want is a friend who will come drop in and watch Bachelor with me shamelessly. We could maybe shop online while we watch and ask each other if that shirt from JCrew is really worth $70. If she's a good friend, she probably won't talk me out of it. Later we can grab a greasy taco and when our husbands get home from school they can join us and we can have an Arrested Development marathon. Later we might go swimming in the dark and plan a trip to Mexico for the next weekend.
If you think that sounds fun, give me a call. I promise never to ask you when you plan on having kids.
This is mostly for my mom - just a little sneak peek of my apartment in Arizona. It is coming together a lot slower than I wish it was, but here's at least one little corner of the place that is close to being done.
Does anyone know of a good resource for dining chairs? Let's just say it is only cool for so long to have "picnics" when people come over for dinner.
I wasn't sure what I was doing back then with my life. I was considering more school, a mission - travel. But then I met him and he was this vibrant, life-giver. He was unlike anyone else. And I knew from the second we met that he is what I wanted in my future. We didn't know about money or jobs or school. We hadn't thought about children or a home. We just thought that maybe, since we liked each other so much we could do this.
And we were right. Years ago, when I dreamt of being married I didn't think so much about his looks or his career. I didn't care much about his family or his singing voice or his cooking skills. I just thought so deeply in my heart that all I really wanted was to be happy.
We may not do things the way everyone else does, Kev. But we love each other, and you have made me feel more loved than I ever imagined.
Happy Anniversary Lover-boy.
I hadn't cried once since we moved here, which is a bit of an accomplishment since tears come as easily to me as a small child. And not a brave small child either.
I cried when my family moved to Connecticut. I sobbed into my pillow at night, trying not to wake up my roommate who tossed and turned in the bed next to me, her sighs and rustles telling me she was awake too. I cried when I moved to Connecticut myself, because there is always someone to miss, no matter where you are. You never realize that everyone you love is around you when they are, which seems to be an unfair trick life plays on us.
I cried in Hawaii most nights. I missed Kevin, and the familiar home I left behind. I missed the safety net I left, but mostly I missed Kevin.
So when I made it two full weeks without crying here, it felt like such a triumph. I bragged about it to my sisters and my mom, and they congratulated me, knowing that it is hard to do this. It is hard to pack up your life and assume a new one so quickly. It is hard to try to incorporate your new life into lives of others who have deeper roots.
But it finally happened tonight. I went to visit a new friend who lives downstairs and just had a baby. Her house was bustling - her mother, her in-laws, husband and son all there, moving in and out of the apartment like it was nothing. Other friends were there too, congratulating her, chatting with me - with each other. It smelled like dinner and the light was that warm, familiar dim and the loud overwhelmed me in the best way.
When it was time to go I walked up the stairs, the floor of my apartment just mere inches from where her ceiling began. It was dark and quiet and Kevin was still at the library where he has been every night until dark this week. I sunk against the door after locking it and cried.
And you know, it wasn't the best cry I've had, but when I finished I still felt better. The cry was rooted in loneliness and newness but mostly I cried because it was so quiet I needed something - some sound to fill the empty air. When I was done I laughed at myself, and I made a sandwich and I ate it outside on the stoop where I heard babies crying and birds whistling at each other and I let the heat seep into my skin and I decided I would be okay.
I've received a couple emails lately from readers wondering why I stopped blogging so frequently. To be honest, I am not sure why. I am sort of overwhelmed as it is with work and my family and when I do have free time I work on different writing projects. It's not that I don't like writing here, I have just started redirecting a lot of my creative efforts elsewhere. That being said, I will try to blog more often, because I love this space of mine. Thanks to those of you who have reached out. You are so kind.
Today I'm over on Inspiration and Rough Drafts. Melissa has a really beautiful series going on over there, so check it out here if you have some time.
Here are a few other inspiring posts I've stumbled across recently that you might like. There is so much beauty on the www. I feel lucky to be a part of it.
Brittany's thoughts on light.
Kristen's heartwarming love story.
Elizabeth's jaw dropping talk on motherhood.
Oh and my friend Katie dances and... these photos of her dancing are incredible. As inspiring as any words, I'd say. See them here.
Thanks for being so cool.
Kevin started medical school today. Well, orientation I guess, which is the same thing in my book. He is there all day for the rest of the week and classes begin on Monday. He packed his backpack and I wanted to cry almost. Like it was my six year old going away to Kindergarten and I worried if he would make friends and I wanted to pack him a lunch but instead I kissed his cheek goodbye and waited for him to text me. It broke my heart a little bit to see him leave.
I've been thinking about us a lot lately with this impending journey ahead of us. Everyone says I won't see very much of him from here on out. No more spending all day together, no more eating all three meals just us and chatting until late at night, like two girls at a sleepover and making ourselves turn over to fall asleep not because we ran out of things to say but because there is so much left it will need to be saved for tomorrow.
I really don't feel sad about it, even though people keep asking me if I am. I'm not worried about our future and I'm not worried about finances or missing him or having to do some things alone. Instead, all I feel is so incomprehensibly proud. Like, rays of proud are beaming off of my body. Not just because of the fact that it is medical school but because of the hours of commitment that brought him here and the hours that will carry him through to the end. There's really something beautiful about witnessing someone you love make their dreams happen.
photo via. i am dying to get some of her artwork.