I ran into an old friend on Sunday. My first homeschool mentor and the mother of my eldest son's best friend, she is wise and she is holy. We chatted a bit in the soccer parking lot. Life has taken some interesting twists since we were both young moms with a handful of children and more on the way. Our conversation turned to changing roles, changing goals, and burnout. She's taking time to exercise these days--time she denied herself for years. She says it keeps her healthy and it keeps her sane. I think we'll talk about exercise another day...
She also said she's taking time for friendships. In the busyness of our days, in the laying down of our lives for our children, precious friendships get pushed aside. Fortunately, true friendships can begin again, right where they left off, only sweeter for the wisdom of years.
This morning, in the all-too-brief quiet space between waking and rising, I determined to sing a new song today. I asked God to show me how He'd have me use this day. I had planned to go again to see the bluebells and hang out on the banks of Cub Run. But an 8 AM orthopedic appointment scuttled those plans.
Still, I was determined to make something beautiful and restorative of this day. Katie asked me at breakfast if we could go see a real horse sometime. Sometime?
"Let's go today," I replied.
"Today? In real life?"
In real life, indeed. Everything about this day would be in real life.
I called an old friend and asked if she'd like to meet us at Frying Pan Park, a nearby farm where there were sure to be lots of spring babies. After she recovered from her surprise at my availability to do something in the middle of the day in the middle of the week, she readily agreed.
We admired the peacocks and mooed at the cows. I tried to reassure Nicholas about the smells coming from the smokehouse. He remains unconvinced and might be scarred for life.
There were tractors to climb and roosters to cockadoodle to.
In the midst of it all, my cell phone rang. Another old friend. She wondered if we were up for a trip to the bluebells. I declined and explained about Patrick's foot. She said we never see each other any more...
"I'm standing with the pigs at Frying Pan Park. Load up the van and meet us here."
"I'm so burned out I can't think about doing anything else today. I"ll be there in twenty minutes."
So, while little boys played in the trees above us, three old friends settled into a conversation as comfortable as a pair of faded jeans. We remembered when the agile climber was a baby in a stroller and when the current baby was but a fervent prayer. We remembered when the lovely ballerinas strolling hand-in-hand were the little girls in the bear costumes at the Nutcracker. We talked about the future and debated the pros and cons of high school curricula. We enjoyed the sunshine and the comfortable company. We resolved to do it again next week.
On the ride home, I thought about how precious these old friendships are, how they refresh my soul. I thought about the day, which began chilly and cloudy and cleared to a glorious spring sunshine. I thought about what might have been happening at home in my absence.
It turns out that God was planning quite a spectacle to greet me at home. Not a catastrophe; not a crisis. Just a show of quiet beauty. The garden bloomed while we were out and smiled upon us on our return.