|The Birthday Girls|
In spite of our efforts to hide away in the far corner of a pancake restaurant booth for pie and coffee this afternoon, the paparazzi found us and snapped this picture. But we were prepared and whipped out our sunglasses so that our true identities are hid from all but those who know us personally.
We have been meeting like this and in countless other eateries, homes, shopping malls, theaters, gardens, hospitals (waaay too many of those!), and churches for about 6 years. Our public may have been jealous of this small little sorority of sorts, but due to budget constraints, we had to keep our numbers few. You see, we celebrate each gal's birthday with small gifts of glam and fun and that can add up very quickly in today's economy. All of us have "been around the block" so to speak, having lived somewhere around 5 or 6 decades each, none of us natives of Blogville, and wearing rings on our left hands from different sources (married, divorced, or widowed).
Today's afternoon's summit was of a bittersweet nature, although THANK GOD it was not as somber as our last gathering, which was at a funeral. Until just two months ago, we were a group of five but then one of us got a sudden summons from the One from Whom All Blessings Flow, and in the blink of an eye the remaining four of us were huddled together on a church pew, bawling our eyes out to the music of "I Can Only Imagine." One of our blond members commented during our deepest moments of grief, "Why did SHE get to go first???" And we all nodded our heads. All we can conclude is that the very moment she had fulfilled God's purpose for her life, He came for her while the rest of us remain in our role as ambassadors for Him. (II Corinthians 5:20)
But I have digressed. We met yesterday to say "farewell" to the craziest of our group. She came here from the Long Horn State and now is being reassigned to that same location. As we all know, you Don't Mess with Texas, so we are having to bid her "safe travel", along with her moving van. The Nanny gave each of us a pewter token of this special time, so we would remember the one who has gone on before us, and one another as well....
She also gave the two of us who remain in Blogville a copy of her house key. Think about this if you live alone: Is there anybody who could get into your home to check on you using a house key instead of having to resort to getting the police to knock your door down? (Just a thought to ponder)
I spent time over the weekend remembering the things we girls have done together and thought it would be fun to list as many as I can (to be sure, I am forgetting some). This is what two or more of us have done to make memories since 2006 (or so):
all pink birthday party with china and balloons
secret Easter Bunny who left full baskets at each gal's door in the dark of night
secret pals who decorated an apartment door with birthday balloons and fun stuff
a car may have been decorated, too (not sure 'bout that one!)
Christmas light show at a local garden center in the freezing cold
a live show about Gee's Bend (quilts) at the downtown theater district
trying on hats, scarves, and costume jewelry while shopping
aqua-size class in a wave pool
lunch at Red Lobster
lunch at Gunther Toody's
lunch at Panera Bread
dinner at the Olive Garden
prayer around the hospital bed of a Gastric By-Pass patient
prayer around the hospital bed of heart valve replacement patient
cleaning up the doo-doo of one gal's dog in her hospital room
meeting at the Emergency Room during tough times
gathering immediately after a child had been found deceased
meeting at the airport when another returned from her child's funeral
visiting each other's parents during times of illness and death
visiting one's hospitalized child
a Hawaiian Luau, complete with hula dancing
Mary Kay cosmetic parties
learning to make bead bracelets together
several years of Beth Moore Bible studies
singles retreats (for those who are single)
church women's retreats
numerous church ladies' brunches
helping in the church kitchen
quiet meals in our homes with sharing, tears, prayer, and hugs
impromptu sleepovers when snowy conditions made it necessary
Easter, 4th of July, and Christmas choir presentations
Thanksgiving and Easter Dinners
laughing till we hurt when Elvis came to one of our birthday parties
making a birthday girl sit in a wheelchair at her party
Surely I have left some things out....
But as I said, one is responding to God's call to relocate, so today we talked about our many memories, reaffirmed our love for each other as sisters in Christ, prayed for the safety and well-being of the departing one and then it was done.
I feel clumsy about saying 'goodbye' in person; somehow it's a little easier with a computer keyboard on my lap. We part with thankfulness for email, telephones, and thoughts about future visits. It's not really over. Christians are Friends Forever.