And Chels lived this life with E, In the dorm just across the quad. They shared baths and toys and even clothes. There were four married couples among the hall directors who became friends beyond the job. Because of the job but beyond it. We had a fancy 'homemade' meal once a month. Went camping together, sat almost every day in the back corner of the dining room--being grown-ups among the students. We were all together, clapping, the day E took her first steps.
These little girls were in and out of each other's lives on almost a daily basis for the first five years. Since then, though a state and interests have parted them, they fit together naturally enough whenever they have the chance. Just as I've always fit with Chels's mom, a woman very, very different from me, but someone with whom I can have deep and honest conversations, who listens and wants to grow and longs for more than what she is.
So there E and I were, among a hundred of
But we were there; sometimes showing up is what counts. Sometimes, even when people are very different than us, it's our presence that speaks volumes. These friends know who we are. They always have. They censor their language, hesitate to say certain things (though I encourage honesty, even about 'religion'), and they seem to find both E and me refreshing in our responses. I heard M, my friend, tell one young man who was buzzing like a bee around my daughter, "She's way out of your league. She's intelligent, strong, has morals and values and faith. She's not a one night stand, or even out for the kind of relationship you could offer. So get over yourself and leave her alone." It warmed my heart to hear her so protective of my grown daughter (who can surely take care of herself), because it tells me our friends know and value who we are, what we stand for. I think they even understand WHY we stand as we do. And that, I hope, is the germinating of the seed of faith in their lives. I pray so.
Now Beve and I have driven east to be quiet for a couple of days. He's never taken time off in the middle of a school year before. But this hasn't been a normal year, and the stress is weighing too heavy on his shoulders. So we have burrowed in a quiet place for a few days, to talk and rest and debrief and find our bearings with the help of some people whom we trust very much to be something like our counselors or spiritual friends in our conversations. To listen and wade through the muddle and try to make sense of how to do better with all we have to do.
So I'm turning off this computer for the rest of the week. At least turning off this blog. I'll write again when I get home.