Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Missing My Friend

I realized today - I am grieving. It's amazing how quickly it hit.... again. It's something that I had worked through at the time, but I guess there's now another "layer" to process.

One of the situations I'm witnessing reminds me of my friend, Karen. Or, more specifically, it reminds me of MY journey walking through similar "stuff" with Karen walking beside me.

She had an uncanny ability to see the big picture, and to know - even through the computer screen - when something wasn't QUITE right, or I was being "just a little bit" evasive. She knew me - and loved me - well enough to call me on it. She'd point it out, and stand beside me as we sorted through the mess. All from 650 miles away.

This was a decade ago. She died in 2003. It's amazing to me how different my life is now. How much I have changed. How much one person could influence change in my life - through patience, truth, and love.

I pull out the picture of the wall I created back then. Construction paper "stones" of different colors, all "named" and stacked on top of each other. It was a "getting to know me" project, to look at the different aspects of my Self - "positive" and "negative" - that I used to "protect" myself from the rest of the world. Through that exercise, I realized how much it merely isolated me from any meaningful relationships.

Day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, the wall has been disassembled. God has brought people into my life - online and in "real life" - who have helped me to grow and to trust, and to be willing to come out of hiding. To become vulnerable enough to risk standing outside of my wall.

It's not all fun and games out here. I do sometimes long for the days of isolation and anonymity. But.... I'm not lonely anymore. I have connections, I have community. I have joy and I have peace. I also have the depth of emotion to grieve.

As I put together the pieces I hear and the pieces I see of the situation at hand, I sure wish I could talk with her, and hear her perceptions. I miss that. I miss my friend.

God has sent others for me to talk with - heart to heart - who love me enough to hold up mirrors with patience, truth and love. He has also reminded me, through her life and her death, that "love never ends". It is with me always.

I thank God for that.

This picture I took during a gathering in 2002, when Karen and I - and some other friends - spent a weekend hanging out in a cabin at one of TN's state parks. The thing that I love so much about it is not only does it capture Karen (with my daughter) - but I didn't see it until after she died in the summer of 2003. I found the roll of undeveloped film, turned it in, and was given this gift.


JoAnn said...

How abundantly blessed you are, sweet friend. Karen's face is amazing. Thank you for honoring her by posting on your blog. She sees your hard work, and is proud.
Love you! J.

Susan said...

Grieving has layers like an onion, doesn't it? It's good you acknowledge what you are feeling and deal with it.

I enjoy your blog.