My Sister's Side Door

Tag: lifestyle

For Jenny

Jenny and I met during what was undoubtedly one of the most chaotic seasons of my life. I was in my early twenties and I was dating a guy who, as it turned out, had a thing for Jenny. I wasn’t exactly friendly to her because of this, and Jenny being Jenny..wasn’t about to let that slide. At her insistence, we spent some time hanging out, and figured out pretty fast that we got along quite well . We had alot in common. And we laughed. Alot. And just that quick,

a beautiful friendship

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was born.

 

 

That first summer, she helped me get a job driving the beer cart at golf course that she worked for so..

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much of that summer was spent flying over concrete entirely too fast in a golf cart that wasn’t “souped up” but drove like it was. We talked alot.  About life, her past and mine- but we also spent alot of time in the moment.

I am so thankful for that now.

Our friendship spanned many relationships, several short-lived fashion trends (READ: disasters), a couple of marriages, and one very difficult divorce. We struggled through the loss of children..and then we celebrated the birth of two-

Hers…

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and my own.

 

You see, because of that friendship, my husband and I were able to adopt a beautiful little boy.

 

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Because of that friendship, a beautiful little boy lives in a home filled up with love, security, and encouragement..

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Jenny gave us that gift by bringing us all together.

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Jenny and I hadn’t spoken much over the last few years and her passing was very unexpected. I knew that she was unwell, but I don’t think that I let it sink in just how bad things had become until they day the message came in that she was in the hospital. From that moment, time kind of stood still. To be honest, it still does most days. It took some time for me to be able to get through the day without crying. Longer still for me to be able to look at the pictures..endless stacks of them.. that remind me of earlier times “before.” Before the heart wrenching losses that quite simply broke her heart and mine. There was much left unsaid in the end, and I regret that so much. I know her well enough to know what she would say about that. She had a loving and forgiving spirit..always comforting others even during times of intense personal pain. She was ( and is) an amazing human being.
One of Jenny’s greatest talents was bringing all of the people that she loved together. I have been blessed beyond measure to spend much time over the years with her family and other friends. Her older sister is my sister now. In Christ and in life. Her mother made the stocking that we hang for Isaiah on the mantle every Christmas. With loving hands. Her mother was also there with us on the day that Isaiah was born. Jenny brought us all full-circle though I couldn’t quite see that at the time.

It takes time to push past the incredible heartache that comes after… after my friend steps out of this world and into eternity.  It takes time to once again appreciate the beautiful things that she saw and captured through that ever-present camera lens.  It takes time to get through an entire day without tears.  Or at least, without public tears.  It takes alot of time. But there is one certainty in all of this.  To have a friend like Jenny is worth every.single.bit. of the pain that comes from losing her.  She was.. she is… a gift to those of us who have been privileged enough to call her friend. And I will never forget her.

 

 

 

 

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Spring Cleaning

My husband said that our last move back home to Georgia would be the hardest.  It was surely that.  A couple of weeks ago, we were finally able to close on our new home.  It was the culmination of all many months of hard work and planning. We both breathed a big sigh of relief when we had keys in hand.

house

 

And then we got to work.

It took a full week to move all of our belongings in. I’m not entirely sure when we moved away from being the young people who traveled light ( only books and a dog) to the people who have too much stuff. So much stuff that it is back-breaking work to move it.  Boxes and boxes of things. Things that sit on a shelf or hang in a closet.  Things that do nothing for to enrich our lives or the lives of others.  That’s what I find myself thinking about now. How much of my life’s work I’ve spent on those things instead of using the provision that the Lord has graced us with to help others.  It hurts my heart.

But times they are a’changin’.  I am in the process of stripping my life back down again.  Item by item. Room by room. I want to see if I can catch a glimpse of that young woman who thought nothing of tossing her life’s possessions in a dumpster before entering the Army. “It’s just stuff” I remember telling my mom.  Exactly. Exactly.

And after doing that? I have never felt more free.  I lived for a couple of years on a beautiful island in the pacific and I owned very little. I had a rather large box of books, a grumpy cat, and a refrigerator full of baloney, cause, you know, a woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do. It was expensive to live there, but if I had never returned I would have never met my husband.  I can’t imagine a life without him in it.

So I’m sorting now. And tossing. I am committed to getting back to that girl that knew that the best parts of life don’t fit into a box.  It’s going to take some time to dig her out I’m sure, but she’s still in there. I have no doubt about that.

Perfectly Imperfect

I read a quote once that said “Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”  And that sums up quite nicely where I have finally arrived at in my professional and personal life.  I’ve spent the better part of the past five years agonizing over which road I would take.  Pressure.  Oh the pressure.  But where was that pressure coming from?  It certainly isn’t coming from my husband.  He’s most happy with just letting Angela..be Angela.  Wherever that takes me.  So that only leaves one person and she can be quite the taskmaster.  The pressure has been coming from somewhere inside of me.  There is that part of me who believes that a certain degree will tidy all of the proverbial “loose ends” in my life quite nicely. It will make everything just perfect. That really doesn’t make that much sense does it?  Because what we do is not who we are.  And it really took me a long time to figure that out.

I have truly enjoyed my many years working as a nurse.  But nursing has changed so much over the years..and quite frankly, so have I.  There has always been something inside of me left unfilled.  Empty.  I always thought that advancing myself further through my education would bring me to the place where that feeling disappeared.  But that isn’t what happened at all.  The more “educated” I become, the more I find that most of the time, theory prevails over practice.  The less “hands on” transpires.  And one truth I’ve built my life on:  experience trumps theory any day.

School starts for the little man this September, but it’s already started for me. In fact, it’s a life work in progress.   My plans are to continue to aggressively pursue a Masters in “Lessons Learned by Living” for a while. There’s no rush to make a decision. Sometimes..sometimes not making a decision is actually making one. A huge one.  Learning to be ok with that is another lesson entirely.  I’m working on that.

No matter how hard I push, pull, agonize or organize, life will never be my version of perfect, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Who wants to have all glitz and no dirt?  All shine on the outside and no sand on the floor mats?  Every single dish put in place?  All order and no beautifully random chaos?  I don’t.  Not anymore.  I am now a little less concerned with where I will arrive than I am with how I am getting there.  So me and the little man will spend the rest of the summer getting a little dirt on the tires, sand on the floor mats, and leaving dishes in the sink.  Doesn’t that sound kind of..perfect?