Dinner with Friends…

This evening I was invited to have dinner with a couple of friends.  They wanted to have one more meal together while we were all still in the same town.  I was treated to a lovely meal downtown and I feel special because of their caring.

We are getting closer to moving.  I have packed so many boxes, I think I should be finished.  I’m not and when I look around all I see is more ‘stuff’ that needs to be sorted through.  But, that is not what I wanted to write about tonight.

When we moved here five years ago, I never truly thought about what it would be like to live in a city where I knew no one.  I had lived in San Diego for so long, that I knew people and had friends.  I took that feeling of belonging to someone’s circle of friends for granted.  I still miss those friends, and time and distance has not erased the wish to meet for coffee or walk around lakes.  They are forever etched into my heart.

This evening I had dinner with two women.  One I know and can talk with, but, we have never spent time one on one.  Until this evening when we carpooled to the restaurant.  It was the first time I had actually spent more than five minutes alone with her.  The conversation was easy and fun and I will always remember the drive into town.

The other women was my first friend in Charleston.  When you move, you meet neighbors and they are polite and nice.  They sort of have to be that way, since, after all, you are neighbors.  Then I met people at church, and again, people are nice because, well, they sort of have to be.  I felt that these people were a given.  But, this woman, was my first friend.  She had a conversation with me when there was no real obligation for her to do so.  Of course, she did own a shop and I was in shopping, but, the conversation went beyond that.  I visited her store often and each time the conversations grew in length and fun.  Soon, I was working with her and we would talk the day through, if we could.  I had a friend.

I once wrote a blog post about friendship, I referenced the Girl Scout song, make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.  I mentioned this friend in the link and said that I thought that she would one day move from the silver group into the gold.

This  evening, I realized that this woman has become a golden friend.  We have shared much the past few years.  We have laughed and cried and shopped and laughed some more.  We are both retired military wives and we know what it is like to start over again and again.  We know that distance does not make a friendship disappear.

Our friendship will not disappear, this we know.  But, once more, this evening I felt the pang I have felt so many times in my life.  I have sat at a table laughing and talking only to have the time run out and the last words spoken: good luck; this is a new adventure; and, we will miss you.    All wonderful words, but they hurt the heart when you think of so many friends you have said this to.  I carry in my heart faces of women who have blessed me, laughed with me, propped me up when I could not stand, and made me laugh until I snorted soda, or tea, or coffee from my nose.

So, in the next month I will be in a familiar situation again.  I will meet new neighbors.  We will find another church to attend.  And hopefully, I will find someone who will take that chance to strike up a conversation that will never truly end.

And so dear friend, thank you for the dinner and the memories of a wonderful time spent here in the Lowcountry.

Thanks for stopping by….  DAF


On Missing a Way of Life… 31 Days of Observing…

This morning I spent some time reading posts on my Reader section.   There was a post from Adopting James titled “We Know Jack”  (http://adoptingjames.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/we-know-jack/).
It was about the movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas”  (Tim Burton’s 1993 movie).   It was a great post to read, but what it did was transport me to Disneyland.  I could see the decorations that grace the Haunted Mansion in the park from Halloween until the beginning of the year.  The music plays while waiting for the ride and all through the ride.  You walk around the park for the rest of your visit humming it.  Sometimes it is a duet with the other themes of rides, so that it can become a cacophony of music in your head.
After reading this post, I was immediately homesick for a drive up to Disneyland.  For 27 years I was able to drive to Disneyland.  It  was less than two hours away.  No gps or maps were needed, I got in the car and drove. I know my way there.
This got me thinking, always a bit dangerous.   I miss that way of life.  I miss the way I lived when I was in San Diego.  I never thought I would say that.  I was glad to leave the west coast and move east.  It was a dream I held for at least 27 years while living in California.
I miss being able to meet friends for a walk and either have coffee or a meal afterwards.  I miss shopping at the malls with all the good stores there.  I miss meeting our dear friends for coffee and or dinner and movies on Friday nights.  I miss the mountains and the apple pies and apple picking there.  I miss knowing my way around like the back of my hand, knowing that if I am not certain where I am, if I head toward the water, I will eventually find out where I am.  I miss real Mexican food, with real salsa.  I miss it all.
Now, that all seems nice, doesn’t it?  I have to confess that, while in San Diego, I missed Maine.  I missed the coast and the rocky shoreline.  I missed the snowstorms, I missed the little military housing community I lived in.  I missed my friends in my neighborhood.  I missed the lobsters and the blueberry pies.  I missed Mt Desert and Bar Harbor.  I missed it all.
Finding a pattern here?  In Maine, I missed Japan.  I missed seeing Mt Fuji out my windows.  I missed the excitement of living overseas.  I missed the food and the smells and the noise.  I missed riding my bicycle everywhere.  I missed living in early occupation housing with all its challenges.  I missed my friends.
Yes, this is my observation today.  Seasons change.  Not just outside in nature, but in our lives.  Change is inevitable.  We can’t help it.  It happens.  For our growth, for our lives, because we serve a God who knows what is the very best for us.
I have spent the past several months missing our old house here in Charleston.  It was beautiful.  The neighborhood was idyllic.  It was comforting and I love it.  Our new place, I am grateful for.  I am learning also, that there will be things that I will eventually miss about this place too.  The way the wind blows through the tress in the backyard.  The ugly pond (more like a drainage ditch), that is home to three alligators.  I never would have been able to watch the gators swim around like I do here.  I actually enjoy watching them.  One loves to swim all day long.  One almost frolics in the water and the largest one makes the theme song from Jaws run through my mind.
Yes, the autumn of this year is upon us.  It has brought with it a cooler temperature, changing and falling leaves and most importantly, a changing attitude in me.  This is another season of my life.  Not perfect.  Not ideal. But, time that I will grow to enjoy and appreciate.  A time of learning and discovering.
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
thank you for stopping by today.  I appreciate your visit.  DAF


We plan the way we want to live,
but only God makes us able to live it.

                                                Proverbs 16:9 (The Message)

Did you ever feel like you were living in a maze?  One of those corn fields that are turned into mazes during the harvest?  I have actually never gone to one, but have seen photos of them and know that they can be confusing to go through.  The plantation down the road has a corn maze during the fall and there, in the middle of the maze is a platform that can be climbed upon to see where to go next.

When we moved four years ago, I left San Diego with a mental image of life in Charleston.  I had a plan.  I had a visual of what our life was going to be.  It was wonderful.  I was confident, hopeful, full of plans and ideas.  Ah!  naiveté!  To be able to come to this beautiful low country full of what amounted to ignorance on my part.

This scripture has become my life and I am learning it.  I learn the hard way.  I need to have it pounded into my head.  I am an object learner.  I need to see object lessons for things to become a part of me.

I had a plan.  It was, in theory, a great plan.  God had a greater plan for me.  A perfect plan for me.  He is a patient teacher.  I, however, an impatient student.

We moved.  We had family events, unplanned, unpleasant.  But, those times made for a new dynamic in our family.  It brought some of us closer. It was a good time.  Even in difficulty there is joy.  There is healing and bonding.

We had illness.  Long term illness.  It is becoming better.  We have had good news lately.  It is wonderful.  Major illnesses that lurked in the back of our minds, scary words we did not want to mention have been erased.  No longer does the specter of Alzheimer’s peek out from the dusty corners of our minds.  Relief that I will not lose my dear hubby to this disease is a relief.  My breath seems to come a bit easier in the 24 hours since we have found out that this is not what the problem is.  Reality of this is still settling in.  Thank you Lord that this is not an end of this part of the maze we have found ourselves in.   That prayer has rattled in my mind for the past few hours.

Still, we are in the middle of a maze.  We are still not released from doctors.  But, it looks like daylight ahead, it feels hopeful.

Loose ends seem to be fusing together.  God is still molding us, fixing us, changing us.  He is bringing into focus the life He wants us to live.  My plans fell to the wayside over a year ago.  They are collecting dust and I grieve that they are not part of the greater plan.  But, with the coming spring, I think hope will bloom and blossom.  That in the newness of the new season, a new plan will form.  A plan that will be perfect.  A plan, that may not be exactly as I had thought it would be, will be a fresh beginning, a renewal.

So, I take a few minutes here on the platform of our maze/life. I see the dead ends.  I see where paths twist and turn.  I think I can see the end.  I am still figuring out how we get there.  I guess the best way is to hold on to the hand of God and continue to ask Him for directions.

Thanks for stopping by today.  I appreciate your visit.  DAF