Well, Weekend Writing Warriors, here I am again! As usual, I am chiming in at the last minute with my Weekend Coffee Share. I hope you will forgive me for the lateness of the hour. Truth is, I worked several twelve-hour days this week, and then had to catch up with chores and everything else under the sun these past two days. I’m sure those of you who cram your writing into a few free hours on Saturdays and Sundays will understand and forgive me. I know my faithful followers will also forgive me if I am running a bit behind in reading your blogs and catching up. I promise to catch up this week and appreciate your forbearance.
So, what can I tell you about this past week? It was full, but to put it down in writing makes it seem less interesting than it was.
The reality is that life is made up of a lot of seemingly mundane moments. Yet it is in those moments that a lifetime is made. Thus, while what I have to say won’t be earth shattering, I’m sure many of my more thoughtful readers will relate.
One very nice thing occurred last night. Mr. Loveton and I finally managed to keep a dinner date with friends of some twenty-five years standing. We hadn’t seen this couple in about four years. My fault, I must admit. With my mom’s declining health and all the things I feel I must accomplish in a weekend, I was remiss in catching up with these lovely people. Very bad of me – as I admitted to them. It’s a wonderful thing that I have very good taste in friends: they didn’t hold it against me, but warmly welcomed us back ‘into the fold’ and we had a lovely dinner with wine and accompanying courses at our favorite restaurant.
Our conversation was heartening and affectionate. We caught up on what had been happening to the four of us, and then we exchanged lots of memories about the various trips we’d shared and there was much laughter about happy moments from the past.
In the midst of our conversation, I realized that life is good. It is also fleeting. Perhaps the very rapidity with which these moments pass makes them all the more precious. All I can say is that at the end of the evening, Mr. Loveton and I left our friends, and felt enriched, loved and very blessed. We also set a date to get together again in June – no more the passing of years before catching up with dear friends. Life is too short – and there will always be some reason or excuse that keeps us from sharing our lives with those we love. The trick is in realizing this and not giving in to the weariness or the challenges that prevent us from sharing our lives.
I have thought a lot about relationships this past week. Perhaps I have been in a philosophical mood. Or perhaps the realization that a long time friend of mine is moving to another state has made me reflect on what friendship means. Whatever the reason, I’ve been thinking about friendship a lot.
What struck me is that relationships are rather like engaging in the old fashioned American square dance.
In a square dance, partners start out together, and then weave in and out of the dance with other partners, all to the lyrical instructions of the dance’s ‘caller.’ In the end, diligent partners end up together as the dance concludes its final steps. Those not quite as observant (or rhythmic!) end up searching for their partners.
Isn’t that sort of like our lives? We begin friendships with people, sure that we are destined to be friends for life… but then the dance begins and we switch partners and perhaps never again see those we started out with.
I have friends who occasionally check in with me. It’s a very brief ‘kiss kiss’ thing in text or on Facebook. Yet they never ask about my mom or how I’m doing. They don’t share the everydayness of my life. When I attempt to check in with them, I receive a brief return text, but nothing meaningful. Why? Because good intentions aside, life is busy.
Well, life is too busy, I guess. I’m so glad that my husband and I were able to slow down our lives for a moment and meet up with our friends for an evening. I am glad we set a date for June to see them again.
You see, sometimes, you have to look for your original partner in the square dance. Otherwise, you may lose them forever. Don’t lose your friends forever. If there was ever something meaningful there, remember it – and reach out.
Life is too short to be too busy.
Thinking about friendships this week, I got to thinking about my friend in the UK. She and I have been close for about four or five years now. We live an ocean apart – yet our friendship is as if she lived down the street. Why do you think that is?
It’s because we share the ups and downs of our lives. She knows what is going on every day of my life. I know the same about her. We write each other daily. We skype every other week – imagine virtual online coffee gab sessions! We are intimately involved in the details of one another’s lives. We support one another, we share joy and tears. We share ‘relationship.’
So, it is not distance that cools friendships. I guess it is just life, a lack of time – and eventually, a lack of caring.
The square dance caller sings out, “Change your partners, round and round you go,” and we weave in and out of the dance, changing partners just as we do relationships. It’s the dance of life. And at the conclusion of the dance, I suppose we end up with the partners we were paying attention to during the busyness of life.
Lately, I have gotten involved in something called ‘Bible journaling.’ I have always read the Bible, and I have always been a lover of anything having to do with crafts: drawing, quilting, cross-stitch, rug making, painting. You name it, and you will find evidence of it in my craft room. Mr. Loveton just smiles at whichever craft overtakes me at any given moment.
This week, I attempted to make a drawing from one of my favorite Bible verses. The results are here.
Let’s be honest: I am not particularly compassionate, kind or humble. These are virtues I place great value on, but which I do not possess in fullness.
I was thinking about this the other day as I was attempting to express this particular verse in art . I am a pretty snarly, bossy and aggressive person most days of the week. Okay, okay… every day of the week! So, the words convict me. (We won’t even touch on my moodiness!)
Then I got to thinking about an episode from the original Star Trek series. For those of you who are not ‘Trekkies’ like this old broad, I will tell you that in this particular episode, Captain James Kirk was beaming up in the transporter room and somehow his personality was split into two. The gentle side of Kirk morphed into one physical being, and the gritty, aggressive side of Kirk morphed into another.
What Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise soon realized is that Kirk needed to be put back together. The gritty side of him needed the softer, more compassionate part of his nature; and the gentler side was too meek without the more aggressive and self-seeking aspect of his personality.
I think there was a lot of wisdom in that episode. I think to function as a full human being we need to embrace both the kinder aspects of our nature as well as that part of us which makes us uncomfortable. I leave it to our brains to govern both sides and figure out when best to let either side have control.
When I read the Old Testament, I see that Jacob, Moses and David were strong, loving men. They were capable of great compassion, friendship, loyalty. They loved God greatly. They were also capable of trickery, and taking advantage of a situation for their own purposes. So, what was their saving grace? I think it was their love of God and willingness to accurately gauge their behavior, even if after the fact. They could learn from their mistakes.
I would like to be more compassionate, kind and humble. I keep trying. But you know what? I also embrace the coarser aspects of who I am. I need both my gentle nature and the one I often abhor to be an authentic human being. I need to govern both halves of my personality, not give full rein to either. God wants me to be good and kind, but He doesn’t want me to be a patsy. Read the Old Testament. Heck, read the New Testament. I guess if a rough fisherman like Peter, who denied Christ three times, who often spoke rashly and ignorantly, and who was jealously concerned about his place in the Kingdom… well, I guess if he is acceptable, so am I. God likes strong people. Maybe true humility is just realizing we are fully human, but not accepting that as an excuse for horrific behavior.
And I guess that takes me back to the square dance. We weave in and out of situations and the mundanity of daily life. We are always who we are. We change partners, but seldom do we change fundamentally who we are.
But we can! And that is the beauty of being human. We embrace both halves of our nature… but we try – oh yes we try! – to strive toward something just a bit higher.
And, on that note, I wish all of you a good week. As you engage in your own personal square dance, I wish you warm friendship, that you be at peace with who you are, and that you experience joy in the everydayness of your lives.
©2017 All Rights Reserved Kate Loveton, Odyssey of a Novice Writer
Please join the fun at the Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Nerd in the Brain (here). It’s great fun – and we’d love to know what is happening with you!