Since this whole journey started, one of the most awesome results of 'awakening' to life and it's preciousness (and having others do the same through my circumstances), has been reconnecting with the many people that have graced my last 33 years of life.
It really is quite incredible how many people bob in and out of this short, earthly life of ours.
Though perhaps even more mind-blowing is realizing that every single one of them was strategically and thoughtfully placed in it!
Though I've already experienced, yet not blogged, about some significant reunions as a result of the 'grapevine' (especially in our tiny little town) working it's way around, this past weekend was particularly moving -- so much so that these fingers can't type another 'blog of the heart' until this gets laid down.
By the most lovely of intentions, an old high school friend decided just a few weeks ago that we needed a reunion of old friends. Life is flying by, things have changed so much and before any more changes, it was time. To that, we all said, "Amen, lady!" and so, she began arranging it.
Thanks to modern technology and social networking, in three weeks time we had a plan. Being that this very same friend and myself had unsuccessfully arranged such a get-together for just her and I multiple times in recent years, I was a bit embarrassed at just how easy and fast it all came together! But hey... let's just leach onto the excuse that in all the years before cancer I've been a complete numbskull with little grasp on time and the preciousness of life.
You hear it all the time... LIFE IS SHORT.
But it really is!
Perhaps the redundancy of its use makes us complacent to its wisdom, but we need to remind ourselves that it's used so much because there are many around us who have had that 'wake-up call.' You may not live until you're 80.
I know. Sorry to burst your bubble.
But statistically speaking, you likely will not.
Just in talking with another awesome sister-friend tonight, I admitted that before cancer, I really did think I was going to live that long of a life. Everything in my thought process was, "Oh, I still have another 50-plus years.... my life's not even half over, yet!"
HA! Like any of us know that. But it's amazing how many of us think that way!
Anyway. Whatever the case, I'm over being that naive, and this weekend felt like the beginning of new wisdom - in more ways than one.
Sunday afternoon, while driving out to the reunion, I found myself thinking a lot about one particular person I knew who would be there. A girl who got me through some of the roughest parts of high school life, not because we sat around having tons of deep heart-to-hearts or completed each other's sentences, but because she literally did then and still has the most unusually amazing take on and relationship with life itself and the precious minutes that add up our short lifetime.
I remember my days with her so fondly, yet I am ashamed to admit my inconsistent drive for zest, willingness to dare and wisdom to be free from silly adolescent social bounds. Little things like posing for a picture in the most obscure and random way because who the heck wants to see just another stand and smile photo?! I'd nearly forgotten about it all.
The feeling of allowing myself wonderful, child-like joy...and my heart suddenly ached harder than ever at the lesson that this girl, even years ago, was strategically placed in my life to teach me.
Life's too short to live every moment in such dull, systematic and lonely ways.
They say hindsight is the best wisdom and I'm really beginning to understand this more and more, everyday. I have so much hindsight about self-breast examinations, clueless and/or careless medical communities...things related to this journey. I have so much hindsight about goals I have for our family, leaving the lunch mess for a while to read that favorite storybook again with my eager sons. Little did I know, however, how much hindsight I'd gain from all the people who are 'treking' this journey alongside me.
God has given us ALL gifts. Each of us has a special design, made to 'mingle' nicely - purposely - with those He brings in and out of our lives.
My girlfriend's gift is joy.
Joy in food. Joy in sunshine. Joy in baby chicks. Joy in laughing. Joy in silliness.
Joy in childishness. Joy in a great hat or a simply outlandish article of clothing. Joy in a good story.
Joy in building others up. Joy in triumph. Joy in THE LORD.
As she said to me Sunday, while practically lifting me over her head in a massive and near bone-crushing but awesome bear-hug, "I really didn't even realize how much I've missed you..."
And, oh, how mutual that feeling is!
On my drive home, I was able to soak in how much I really didn't see or understand her God-planned purpose in my life back then, like I do now.
Yes, she brought me joy then, absolutely. But to ask me now what that joy means?
Well, all I can say is I'm honored to know someone who genuinely grasps that every moment of life is a God-given, Jesus-sacrificed gift! That in every moment and most all circumstances there is a reason to all out gut-laugh if you just look at it from the right perspective. That sleeping through this life (like I was) in a dull, systematic manner isn't really living it nor does it honor the extreme sacrifice made for us to have it.
So from this point forward, if we're laying on the wet ground or jumping into the nearby bush to take a unique picture...I so get it... and I am so with her! And who knows, maybe if I'm wise enough to really, truly dare to Live In Joy, I'll be in that bush before she is.
I\'m over being that naive, and this weekend felt like the beginning of new wisdom - in more ways than one.