Friday nights, quite possibly the single best night of the week for me now. The end to a 50-plus hour work week, the prospect of 2 glorious days without an alarm clock to go to work. As bad as a Friday at work can be, it can be over when I shut the door to the office look up and the sky take a deep breath and walk to my car.
This past Friday was a shining example to me of a life I never thought I would have. After work I headed off to the store to scoop up things for a dinner party, but not a party at my house… not yet. We were celebrating change in the life of a woman dear to me. A very close friend had just finished a grueling course schedule, along with a super demanding job, and is getting ready to move! Talk about a reason to party. I loaded the car with all kinds of stuff, chicken, cake, tons of veggies, booze, flowers, and hit the road windows down!
I sang and danced in my car in traffic, yes I am THAT person. I sang loudly, I laughed at the people getting angry as people did the zipper merge, I felt the sun on my skin through the open windows. Life was good. I pulled up to Manda’s place with the radio cranked up singing. We laughed at the amount of stuff piled in my car… Kelly was there, she helped by steadying the shopping cart as we loaded it full of stuff… As I parked my car I smiled, this is my life. Friends. As we unloaded the stuff and I situated things around the place, I got a call wanting to know if I was still going to need help… friends… people who help when you are in need… My heart was heavy, one of my very best friends was too ill too attend. I respect her need to be home, I was happy to have shared a chat on the phone with her earlier in the night. I busied myself in the kitchen, everyone was hungry. We were going to eat in stages on this night. Diving into food it was so funny to watch everyone laugh and chat and come together as a group.
We are all so different, from all over the country really, some native to MN, some have been here since they were kids, brought here from the west coast others landed here from the east coast. All different strengths and weaknesses, so different yet so much the same. We all walk the same path, we all struggle, and lift one another up in our time of need. This is family, friendship, love, and strength. This is what community is about. When they say it takes a village to raise a child… this is what they are speaking of.
I watched Sean dance with a young girl, Manda give horsey rides, and I watched newer friends meet older friends. I did what fills me with so much fulfillment, and cooked with love for my family. Served up with love! I think it made Manda a bit uncomfortable that I was serving people but it is what I do! Advice, discussions, silliness, and sincerity continued late into the night. I hated to leave at the end of the night.
I was the last one to leave. I lingered in the parking lot talking to Manda long after everyone left. I didn’t want the night to end. There was a time when my weekend nights involved sitting home playing xbox live… those people were my friends. They knew I laughed loudly, and flirted outrageously, and had a big personality… and a heart to match. They didn’t have to see me, I never had to see them… I was protected, I was safe.
I don’t have to live that way anymore, I shouldn’t have had to feel like that was the only way to live before. I am so blessed to have so many freakin amazing people in my life right now, and I know I would never have found them without going through all of the crap that I did. I am so thankful for each and every friend I have, I wish there was some way for me to show, or tell those in my life ow much they mean to me, but there isn’t. There are no words to tell those that you love, you changed my life, gave me hope and make me a better person to the degree that my friends have made me.
My friends are my family, and I would lay down my life for them. I never thought I would find so many people that I could love like this, but I wouldn’t trade them in for all the money in the world. This is who I am… I do not recognize myself, my heart is healing from the hurt and I am finding that I am okay with that.