Some old friends came through town this evening. Beve introduced me to these now-long-time-friends the spring before we married, when I was wide-eyed and twitter-pated about my tall fiance and thought the sun rose and set on his large shoulders. The first year of our marriage, Beve worked with the husband, a man who so often had to pull Beve and our white Chevy Nova out of ditches when the tires wouldn't hold on snowy roads, that it became an office joke. If it was Monday, Beve would come walking in needing someone to tow him to work. They were some of our first guests in our first apartment, and our friends were reminiscing tonight not merely about the potato skins we served, but about the rows of books that lined our living room. Oddly, just this morning I was thinking about how many more books and cases we own than we used to. I think we only had one book case in that apartment...but it's all about perspective, I suppose.
We took them down to the waterfront for dinner, where we often eat with out-of-town guests. There's something about sitting on Bellingham Bay as the sun sets over the water and the islands beyond that is worth the price of admission, reminds us why we live here, and gives that sense of "I can't believe we get to live in such a place," we're always telling our friends we feel. It has been a glorious day up here, which is something of a surprise in the middle of this ridiculously wet spring. Beve keeps running down to our basement to make sure it's not flooding--that's how wet this spring has been. But today was beautiful. The food was good, the conversation lively, and we felt blessed by the company.
As we approach the age of senior citizen discounts, which are only three months away for Beve, we're more and more aware of the value of these deep, old friendships. And how quickly what we take for granted can be taken away in an instant. As they were driving north toward us, our friends got a call that one of their friends died this morning of an massive heart attack. They had a meal with this man two days before they left on their vacation. Yes, as they were going about their daily lives, death was waiting around the corner for Him. It makes me think of that Emily Dickinson poem, "Because I could not stop for death, it kindly stopped for me..." There aren't many of us who stop for death unless we aren't given a choice. The wife we shared a meal with tonight was given that opportunity, so to speak, a few years ago, when she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. For months she stared her death in the face. Or perhaps it would be better to say, she stared bleakly at her truncated life, and found it painful. She's had a clean bill of health for the last couple of years now, but at each re-check, she and her husband hold their breath with their faith--and I completely get how one can do both at once--until they another clean bill of health.
I get a little tired of talking about all of our medical issues. I was described, the other day, as a woman with disability. And this shocked the bejeebers out of me. Yes, I realize that I have medical, physical issues. I'm not an idiot, and those issues have been my close companions for a long time now. However, deep down, where I live, I don't think of myself in those terms. Not even close. In fact, I hate having Beve or my kids or friends talk about my medical stuff because it creates an image of me that feels far from the truth. And the truth is, I have them but they do not define me. They don't have me. There are at least dozen different definitions that seem more fundamental to my real self than what my physical body just happens to bear.
I am a lover and disciple of the Incarnate God.
A lover of the written word, the spoken word, the Word of God, and the living Word.
I am a citizen of heaven and a dweller of earth, and a person of the Kingdom, who lives to extend it, in whatever why He directs.
A preacher and teacher of the gospel. I am a friend.
I am a writer.
A niece, cousin,
A Bellingham-ster, A Washington-ian, and...an American.I am me.
Who are you? What defines you? Fundamentally, I mean. Not, what do you do, but who are you?