Monday, October 28, 2013

Sisters weekend

My sisters and I got up Friday morning, went about our business, got ourselves dressed, then looked at each other and began to laugh.

Yep, we'd packed matching clothes. How thrilled our mother and grandmothers would have been to have seen us tromping around Spokane together in our blue and gray, which are, coincidentally, the same exact hues of our high school. And they say we weren't loyal Greyhounds? (Actually, no one said that about me, but I'm pretty sure my tall middle sister who never even considered going to a high school reunion might have that accusation thrown her way!) This picture was taken by one of my closest friends who was waiting to be seated for breakfast with her father when we walked in to a popular restaurant. I think the huge grins on our faces came from my utter delight in running into her unexpectedly.

It was a quick but good weekend with my sisters. Not enough time with them. I was feeling a bit under the weather so wasn't up to deep conversation. This happens. We did get down to the Snake River in Pullman, watched my youngest sister's husband (she's in the dark gray sweater), their two daughters and my oldest daughter, E (in an alternate life from her TV newsroom!) inoculating just weaned calves. E was putting some kind of anti-respiratory serum up their large nostrils, while her cousin and uncle simultaneously gave them shots into each shoulder. It was quite the operation. I was fascinated enough I could have stood there for hours. But RE's two-year-old grandson was restless so after a quick bareback ride on a horse with his aunt, we loaded up and headed back up the canyons home.

Saturday afternoon, I sat at a table in the home of my best friend from high school. Her parents' home, I should say. That house hasn't changed a bit in the 30+ years since I last walked through its doors. PH hasn't changed that much either, some silver running through her hair, some tremble in her voice that wasn't there before. But she's more herself than she was then, I think. More clear about herself. Deeply connected to what she's about, what she wants from this life and what it wants from her. She walks with a calm and sureness I never saw before, moves with it. I liked that about her. Liked that she didn't hesitate to say that she felt herself sliding into old habits around me. The younger her wouldn't have done that. She says she's teased about being a 'wallflower', but I think maybe it's okay to be quiet, to think deeply and surely, to listen before speaking, to not simply explode into a room, like some I know. Like one I am.

Sidenote: I am that, you know. I can take over a room. Can so overwhelm it with my presence that no one else has a chance to catch their breath before I've decided which way the conversation, the very mood, the EVERYTHING will go. I don't know what a room is like when I'm not in it, but I don't always like what I am when I'm in a room. If that makes sense. I would like to wait more. To be a still in a room full of people as I am in a room alone with God.

Another friend sat at that table with us. We shared our stories, and they were convoluted, sometimes broken ones. This is merely the truth. We don't have straight-forward histories. Life hasn't always been easy. It's been life and sometimes we've had to claw our way through it. Sometimes it was hard to breathe. And though each of us began the same place, we aren't in the same place now. To be clear, we were all Young Life kids back then when we shared a wheat-field world together. We were young and idealistic and thought that everything ahead of us would be easy and sweet and good. But it hasn't been. And the bumpy road that each has walked has taken us to different places.

Some might say that for me, whose heart longs--even faints--for the courts of the Triune, Living God, it would be difficult to hear them speak of their journeys away from the faith of our youth without an agenda. But it wasn't. I simply drank my tea and shared grapes with them. And tried to understand as much as I can how one can go from anger to questioning to nothing at all. And what I know is that we are who we are. For a reason. I love these two people. No matter what. They are themselves. It was sweet and familiar to sit there, looking out over our town and our history. Gaps linger, but we have a place to begin again.

Later, at my sister's house, we started a new tradition in our family. We had a Saturday night Shabbat dinner, lighting candles for ourselves and our children, tearing bread, drinking wine (juice for some of us). There were words in the prayer my brother-in-law read that spoke strongly to me, and summer up this weekend. I'll leave you with them:

"You have given us Your peace, and set a hunger in our hearts. Restore our strength.
Give new energy to tired limbs, new thought to weary minds.
May this...restore our souls, giving new vision to dry spirits, new warmth to cold hearts."

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