It was the same weekend we planned to go to Florida. So, I will have to respond with “sorry, I will be unable to attend. I will be out of town”. Minutes and days after, the invitation stayed on my mind. Being where we’re called has a way of fulfilling us if we can get past ourselves. After all, we are in the same boat, just experiencing different views.
John’s text read “the flooring will be delivered this week, and we must be there to accept and unload the delivery.” We will leave after work on Wednesday and be there for a full day of work on Thursday. Without considering the details, I responded to the invitation to a baby shower. “Sadly, I cannot be there. We will be out of town.”
Within a day of sending my regrets, I learned there would be no running water in the house in Florida. The old floors have been removed. So, the toilet was not an option for the weekend. One or two days of this could be considered, but not four. I passed the job over to John and told him he’d be a lone ranger this time. I never threw the invitation away. I glance over and see it as I grab the milk for my coffee.
A Quick Rewind
This is where I am supposed to be on Saturday. A long-time friend (very long time), her son, his wife, and their baby. There isn’t a whole lot that is more important than life itself. It is to be celebrated. And that is what we do.
I haven’t wrapped a gift since our move to this new home, some digging and hunting were involved. I’ve always enjoyed wrapping gifts. The process is soothing, orderly, and often reminiscent of sweet celebrations. My storage box is full of partly used rolls of gift wrap and snippets of ribbon that I stashed for various reasons. The overflowing plastic box sent my mind through a quick rewind of moments with family and friends. I remind myself to keep moving; don’t get distracted.
The house was amazing, and the food was beautiful, but the conversations were my takeaway. I walked in with my guard up, as I imagine many of us do. The feeling of mismatch often controls my thinking. You know, the thoughts of not connecting, being the only one in pants, having nothing in common, or simply being too old or too young. However, all that washes away as conversations begin swirling across the room.
In The Same Boat
During our casual chat about randomness, we discover we both have trouble finding anything decent to watch on TV, so we often just turn it off. She offers to get us both a cup of coffee and delivers the large mug half-full. I laugh and say thank you. You read my mind. I love coffee with cake, but I sure do not need much of it at noon. We share our odd choices in coffee “add-ins” and laugh together as we look forward to taking our coffee a little differently tomorrow. We’re in the same boat, with different views.
Glad I Am Here
Across the room, I see her beautiful white hair. I cannot help but stare at how the sunlight gave it permission to glisten. I’ve chosen not to fight mother nature about the gray she is combing into my brunette hair. For a while, I was constantly aware of the noticeable changes and thought everyone noticed. Now, I hardly think of what is changing. My attention now turns to admire others. Her hair inspires me. Again, I am so glad I am here.
The Good Is Poured Out
As the gifts are opened, she and I strike up a conversation. We’ve known one another for many years and from a distance, we’ve watched each other’s children grow. She quietly asks, how are your kids? Thankfully, I quickly felt seen. I know how to talk about my children and I’m comfortable that her intentions are genuine. I give her the run down of my two and toss the question back to her. So much commonality in their lives. When the good is all poured out and shared between us, she’s quiet for a second. After a breath, she leans over… “There are tough parts mingled into all of this as well, but we’ll choose to let that work itself out”. We both take a deep breath. It isn’t that we hide the troubles, we just choose to give them different energy. The difficult pieces are just part of it…the same boat.
It Is All Valuable
The oldest was most likely in her mid-eighties while the youngest was probably five. A few of us were longtime friends, but most were casual acquaintances or even strangers. While I may never know what each was thinking as we trickled into the same place, I have to think that we each arrive with our uneasiness, maybe even self-doubt. Along with that, we bring excitement and joy that takes a minute to express. We each indeed have our unique contribution and it is all valuable, even necessary. Oh, how I wish I could convince the younger ones to not concern themselves with this inner debate. But I am afraid it is something only time teaches, and I am still its apprentice.
Same Boat Different Views
I’m glad I listened to God’s guidance. I came to the place I was called to be today. Life needs to be celebrated. Life of newborn babies and life of those of us (all of us) who struggle with doubt, confidence, knowing what to say, and accepting the truth of being necessary. The house in Florida needs much attention, but for today it must wait. A new soul is about to join us on this boat we call life. She is being created as a unique individual by a God who loves us all so dearly. Certainly, she will have her own view of the world, her own doubts, and her own passions. And that is what makes it all such joy. Same boat, different views….and it is all valuable.