Dates are important to girls. Birthdays, anniversaries, first dates, first kisses, first looks, dates of proposals, dates of deployments, dates they came back, dates they didn’t, dates that stink, dates that you don’t want to remember, dates that you do. Many an argument or disappointment begins when someone forgets a date. Boys don’t really get it. Girls do.
When Doug was killed, dates to me became even more important, some more important than others. I can remember sitting in my house in New Hampshire a few years after Doug was killed and crying over the day, because it was important, and no one was there. It is those times that you feel hopeless, even if you know there is hope. There are moments that a girl needs to break down and cry just because it stinks. There are days that even if you know God is right there, you miss them, and it hurts, even though you know you will see them again.
Well, my birthday was last week, and this time there were no tears. My friends came through – for the millionth time – again. They know I don’t look too pretty when I cry, so they don’t give me a moment to think about the “missing” part of the day.
It started with a call from one of my friends – Monica- now living in Hawaii (loser….she should have told the Army to shove it when they gave her husband orders – but I digress. . . ). “Happy Birthday Week!” she said as we began to chat. About 20 minutes into the conversation there was a knock on my door – Pizza man. I didn’t order any pizza – I tell the man so. Monica says over the phone, “Add in a tip too.”
I get a pizza delivered from Hawaii. Not bad for a first birthday present!
This, of course, takes me back in time just a bit – back to those few years after Doug was killed and I was in New Hampshire. One of my other friends – Amanda – makes sure to visit me every six months or so, and whenever she leaves, a piece of me leaves with her. She knows this. So the night she leaves, there is always a knock on the door – the pizza delivery man. Amanda does this multiple times when she leaves, Valentines day, and on Doug and my’s anniversary. One time she even had the people at the pizza parlor assemble the pepperoni’s into an extra large smily face!
My friends know what brings me a little bit of happiness on a dark day. Pizza. Diet Coke. And perhaps a friend that just remembers that dates are important.
Back to my current birthday. My friend Jess came to visit for a few weeks at the beginning of April. When she left she put 42 (yes, that is how old I am, and I am proud of it) notes around my house each starting with “You are fabulous because. . . ” I left all of them alone, so on the morning of my birthday I could run around the house reading them all. Even though Jess wasn’t here, she was. And that was what mattered.
Then my friend Kelly takes me to lunch and gives me the coolest Renaissance Man that actually moves on a weighted instrument of well – something. I have no idea what they are called. I have named him ‘Vincent.’ Vincent and I became instant friends. I pass him by all the time and give him a little spin, and off he gallops, saving the world I am sure. Amanda (my artist who also orders me pizza) is going to jazz him up a bit with a little bit of “Jesus.” He is going to be the rider on a white horse – and he will rock it I tell you….. (Revelation 19). Every time I am down I will go in give Vincent a spin and he will gallop off to fight whatever it is I am battling at the moment.
As soon as I get home my friend Paula comes by, delivering three Sonic gift cards (I told you, pizza and diet coke!), then Amanda shows up with a Route 44 Sonic Diet Coke (easy ice) in hand (not that hard to please me people) and gives me a gift from the West Bank. I don’t know many girls who would get giddy about a gift from the West Bank in Israel, but I practically jumped out of my seat. It was a wine glass, fashioned by a Jewish hand, and looked like peacock feather (another love of mine).
And then we just hung out all afternoon, shooting the breeze (and talking about terrorists in Boston – yes this is what I do in my spare time – intense yet fun – but I digress).
If you don’t have friends like these you need to get some. I couldn’t do this world without them, and God knew that. I have always been close to one, but starting a few years after Doug and I married, friends started multiplying – and not friends you meet and then are gone – but friends that stick, friends that you want to see once a year – if not six times a year. Friends that just won’t go away no matter what crap occurs in your life – friends that are family.
Jesus had a good friend like that too – his name was John. John was the only disciple that sat under the cross while Jesus died. He saw His suffering and although John knew he could do nothing about it, he was there. That is a true friend. One that sits with you when there is absolutely nothing they can do. That is Amanda. That is Monica. That is Paula and Jessica and Kelly and Rachelle and Tara and Michelle and Jan. That is Kim. That is Alise. That is Julie and Brenda and Sarah and Roger. That is a true friend.
So if you look on the calendar today and you see something written. . . if you see a date coming that may be important to someone – pick up the phone. Send them a text, a pizza, a peacock feather, or a diet coke. It doesn’t take much, believe me, I know. Just something to say you remember.
Everyone needs a John.