Wednesday, November 19, 2008

There's Something About Mary...

I have a friend who I will call Mary. Mary's life is a series of mostly good stories. Good times. Noodle salad. Her children have fairly good strong marriages, her grandchildren all seem to be doing well and are embracing the faith of their fathers, walking after God in a great way. Family comes for the holidays and they have grand celebrations with 15-20 family members cooking, talking, laughing, playing games and having a great time. I love her life. It reminds me of the Shire, before the Ringwraiths come. They work hard, save their money, spend time with friends and family, and are happy people. At a certain point, they retire and live a somewhat comfortable existence. All is as it should be.

Then there's folks like me. An uneventful, unremarkable life is not what I live. I can look back to certain choices that have added to the turmoil, but many things have been out of my control. The flood was out of my control. Often family members make decisions that affect you in ways you could not imagine. There are the calls, "My car was stolen." "About your son..." So many, many things that I had no control over, and things I did not instigate. "We decided to cancel your contract." So many things.

My friend calls me if we haven't seen each other for over a week just to find out what's new. In her life what's new is that she finished a blanket for the mission, she canned a carton of peaches, she had this family or that over for dinner, she cleaned out the garden beds, shampooed the carpet, etc. I love that about her. I love the normalcy of it all. I love that when I call they are out "trimming the bushes" and soon there will be neatly cut bundles of branches from the shrubs, tied neatly with twine. They attend ballgames of their grandkids, entertain others in their home, visit family and friends. They are terrific.

When she calls me the conversation goes something like this: "Did I tell you Steve came home?" "No, you didn't." "He just showed up early last Saturday morning. He got laid off and so he grabbed his stuff and drove all night." "How wonderful to have him here, but he doesn't have a job?" "He's supposed to have started one yesterday, but the plans aren't ready, so it will probably be next week. But, they did finally hook up the stove and we started on the dining room walls, finally." "Oh my. So much goes on in your life." Then I go on to tell her the rest of the story.

See the thing is, I know she does not long for the craziness of my life, but she loves me in the middle of it and wants to hear what's happening. Sometimes she may think that she is boring, but I don't see it that way at all. She works so hard to maintain a good home and to prepare good nourishing food and making the budget stretch so that their retirement allows them to enjoy some of the things they like to do. She is a wonderful hostess, in part because her life runs a bit like clockwork. Her home is peaceful and inviting.

Welcome to my home...or rather, I should say welcome to my construction zone. There is always something undone. Some project in some stage less than complete, and usually involving a mess. It drives me up a tree. In the middle of that craziness, I enjoy the respite of being in her home, in that peaceful spot in the middle of the Shire with good Shirefolk.

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