Friends Are Gifts: Day 5

Day five has rolled around.  Half way there during my 10 day, 10 questions as part of self-evaluation, reflection, faux Rosh Hashanah.  Answering this question was easy.

Question:  Have you had any particularly spiritual experiences this past year? How has this experience affected you? “Spiritual” can be broadly defined to include secular spiritual experiences: artistic, cultural, and so forth.

I have had such a tumultuous year. I have often felt like nothing is under my control. This has definitely been a year that has underscored the fact that as much as we plan, as much as we envision the way that our lives will work out, it only takes one trip to the doctor, one conversation in the kitchen, one meeting at work to change the path that we previously had been traveling.

It’s not like I have lived this long without facing disappointment or disruption to my life plan before. I have definitely faced many, many upheavals in my life. Deaths, breakups, major depressions, work failures…. But I have never had so many happen together in such a short period of time.

My spiritual experience out of all of this is the deepening belief that when I feel like I have no control (which in fact, I don’t), I have to rely on God. And so far, He hasn’t let me down. I have survived every twist that has come my way, despite any doubts that I might have had about my own strength.

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 6.46.49 PMAnd God has brought people into my life that have been critical to my healing and my ability to make it through difficult times, offering love and support. I am no one special, but I have special people for friends. They have special talents and gifts, and they have shared them with me. The fact that I keep expanding my circle of friends that help me grow and enrich me as a person, just at a time in my life when I need them the most, is a sign of God working in my life.

In memory

I am incredibly sad tonight.

Around 11 AM, I found out via Facebook that one of the firefighters killed in the Yarnell, AZ, fire was someone with whom I went to school from elementary through high school.  While I was in college, he was in a serious relationship for several years with one of my first cousins, so I would see him at holidays and other family events with her.

But my memories of Eric are not from those later years, but always from high school.  I remember a cute boy, a really good athlete, soft-spoken and somewhat socially awkward.

And I am saddened by his death.

I am also saddened by the tremendous wave of nostalgia that has engulfed me as all the memories of high school have flooded back as a result.

For me, this was the time in my life of true innocence.  I had yet to encounter anyone with an ulterior motive; good things seemed to happen to good people; I didn’t really know any “bad” people.  I was blessed beyond all measure.

Life was:  football games, homework, talking on the phone (a land line), passing notes (no texting), spending the summers at the lake, the smell of sweat in the school gym, cruising town on the weekends, going on dates, gossiping about who was dating who, trying to find enough money to go to McDonald’s after school, cheerleading practice, T-P’ing someone’s house….

That innocence, that fun, that lack of responsibility — it makes me sad to think about how I didn’t appreciate those wonderful days when I was there.

Everyone always says that “if they knew then, what they knew now….”   If I knew then, what I know now, I would breathe in even more precious minutes than I did.  Knowing now what I know now, there’s nothing stopping me from doing that.

And if I knew then, what I know now, I would take extra minutes to ask Eric (and Tammy, and Chuck, and Scott, and Kim and all the others that we have lost so young), “Hey!  Want to hang out?”

Climbing trees

Matt’s birthday is tomorrow (I’m so glad he was born).  I asked him what he wanted for his birthday and he replied, “I put some stuff in the Amazon cart.”  Score.

The “stuff” in the cart was some accessories for his 4-wheeler, his Christmas present to himself.  These accessories included a 2500 lb winch, a winch mount and a winch strap.  Place order, wait for box with the Amazon logo and enjoy.

Once all the birthday presents arrived, Matt took them and his 4-wheeler to our neighbor and his friend, Josh, for help with installing.  Josh is a mechanic by trade and very good with things like this.

A night or two later, Matt came into the living room and said, “My four-wheeler is ready.  I know because Josh just sent me this picture.”


I really like Josh.

Day 8 — Payday is Tomorrow

Today I am grateful that I have a full-time job.  A job that pays my bills and allows me to do extra stuff, like take a vacation to Ireland, use a Keurig for my coffee, buy organic milk at the grocery store and to go out to eat at restaurants when I feel like it.

In fact, I’m having dinner tonight with a friend that I haven’t seen in a few months (*waves* “Hi, Nikki”).


I’m grateful that I have a job that takes up so much of my time that I find it hard to write a grateful blog everyday of the week.