Maybe I’m having a bit of a Jo March moment this morning.
Blogging has been on my back burner for awhile, and clicking this blank page open feels both therapeutic and daunting. For once, I am the only one awake in the house, mentally percolating. It’s too early for coffee (5:30am), and my eyes are barely open, but I must write to process. Why not share it with you, too? So good morning, and I hope by the time you read this I’ve awoken enough to edit it into making sense, and we’ve both had our coffee. :)
Over the last three years, there have been distinct moments of placing that final period in one chapter in my life, and writing a crisp new chapter number on the next page the next morning. This is one of those mornings. The story continues, but it has a different look, a different feel, a new setting, an unknown element about it that makes me both hopeful and uncomfortable. But like all first sentences, this new morning sets the tone for this next chapter, and I’m happy this one begins with me back in my element, here, writing, with you.
I met Jona in August of 2012 on a plane to Portland, Oregon. It was my 30th birthday gift from my husband, a quick weekend getaway–our first in forever, leaving both of our baby girls with the grandparents for the first time. I remember spotting the band Everclear in the airport before boarding–hello, 1998–and whispering to R about it, but being too chicken to say anything as I passed them walking down the aisle. I wished I had been wearing big black boots and had an old suitcase–but you know. You can’t prepare for these things.
Raul and I found our seats, one row apart. I was on the aisle, next to a woman about my age with a young daughter and small baby boy. I smiled because my baby girl, Natalie, was around the same age. Instinctually I said, “Please let me know if you need anything, any help with your little guy…” Once a mother, always a mother, right? I’m pretty sure I motioned to Raul to look at how cute this little baby was, too.
I cracked open my book, eager to finish it, and settled into the flight. I read and sipped my tomato juice until the woman asked if I could keep an eye on her daughter while she went to change her baby. The girl, about 7 or 8, began talking to me instantly, showing me pictures of her baby brother on her phone, telling me about all the cute things he did. I watched a few shaky videos she had taken of him and wondered what my girls would be like at this age.
Looking back, even these moments felt familiar, despite being complete strangers. The woman returned, and we exchanged niceties and relatable mommy stories. Out of the blue, she mentioned she was a part of a Bible study. I will always be thankful for this quick, but so pertinent, statement. The floodgates opened then, and as soon as I said, “me too!” our non-stop flight was more like non-stop talking. I asked her if she was connected to any mom groups, and invited her to MOPS. She wrote down her contact info, which I still have tacked to my bulletin board. “From the plane” is jotted beneath her name and number.
When I left a message for her the next week, I had no idea what would blossom from a simple invitation.
So often, you put yourself out there, and nothing comes of it. And I’m finally digesting that that’s okay. Your authenticity will draw the right person, or people, to you, and if and when something flourishes, it’s gold, Jerry. The last three years have been precious to me for many reasons, but today, I thank God for my friend, and the gift of a sweet friendship that is lifelong.
Jona from the plane boards another plane today, to live in a new city, across the ocean, far away from here. My youngest daughter said to me yesterday, “She’s family, mommy, it’s okay. We’ll see her again.” Lordwilling and you bet, baby girl. Beth Moore has said that saying goodbye is a necessary life skill, and I freely admit that my version is more like a puddle than any sort of skill at all, but it is what it is. I’m kind of okay with being messy in this way though because when you miss your people, you just do, and tears are part of that.
Seasons change….settings change…but the hope the Lord scatters in our lives in so many ways, doesn’t, and never will. Today as I watch the sun rise up through the trees, I’m reminded of his goodness and that He is purposeful and generous, and all I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you. I don’t deserve it, but I fully accept it with a grateful heart and open hands. God speed and love you, friend!