So I had this pack of butt wipes at my parents' house... there was only one left and it was dry. I thought about throwing the entire package away including that one dry wipe but I opted instead to open a new pack and then put the dry one with the new ones and I knew that in a day or so... it'd be wet and usable again.
Anyone see where I'm going with this? I'm pretty sure only a few people in this world would start a blog post with... "so I had this pack of butt wipes..."
In my last post, I wondered why I was so broken this year. I was that dry butt wipe. Instead of becoming useless and irrelevant tho... I think that it really helped to just hang out with my family and friends and after a while... I regained my usefulness... and was revitalized and ready to be used again. OK. I'm done with the butt wipe analogy now.
It's my birthday today. :)
I took this picture because the grouping made me happy. The ketchup label made me happy. Biking makes me happy. Hello Kitty makes me happy. Pink things make me happy. My Camelbak makes me happy. Eating outside makes me happy. It was just... such a great day.
I wish I had the time to catch up with all 163 (and counting) of you who wished me happy birthday on my FB wall... and a bunch more over text. I wish that I could spread all of you out throughout the year and choose to catch up with all of you... see how you're doing... what's new... what's on your mind/heart lately... Remember me on a day that's not my birthday... be a wet butt wipe and drop a line. K. I guess I'm not done writing about butt wipes. I'm a nurse. We're obsessed with veins and bowel movements. Sue me.
One of my goals this year is to start writing the stories of my friends. My friends are my wet butt wipes. No matter how dry I feel like I'm getting... I know I can just put myself next to them and I'll start to feel like myself again.
Today... I want to write about my beautiful friend, Val. This is how my heart remembers the beginning of our friendship.
Val and I will both acknowledge that we never would have become friends had we not met under very special circumstances. I think we both give off an aura of... independence? Intimidation? Confidence? I dunno. But I doubt that I would have approached her to become friends and I doubt that she would have come up to me either... and I think God knew this so He had to make special arrangements to bring us together. I think He knew how much we'd love each other and enjoy each other's presence. He knew better than we did.
I was new at church. I went to this particular life group because a friend I knew in college invited me and also because she was sharing her life map that particular week. I was blown away by the concept of the life map. I learned more about this friend in 1 hour than I knew the entire time we were going to college fellowship together. I decided it'd be a good thing to do one for myself... just for fun. So I did it. And then the life group leader sent out an email saying that there were two more weeks left in the series for two more people to share their life maps. I emailed back and said I was willing. It was already done anyway. He emailed me back and told me that the last two people sharing would be me and Val. He asked me if I had a preference who went first. I told him I had no preference. He said that she had a preference tho... she wanted me to go first. So I did.
She told me later on that she really didn't want to go to life group that night. She used to switch off with her husband... he'd go one week and she'd look after the kids and then the next week she would go and he'd look after the kids. Since she had to share the next week, technically, this week (my life map sharing) was her husband's week to go but he pushed her to go... she pushed back... but she eventually did go. And then she heard my entire life story. I can't remember if we talked much after I shared. I really don't think we did.
The following week, it was her turn to share her life map. At the beginning of life group, we'd share our highs and lows for that week. Her high was that she happenchanced upon a pair of tory burch flats for an amazing deal. I'd recently bought a pair and so I knew what a big deal it was to get a pair for that price... and I think I was the only one who got excited about it with her... so we bonded initially... over a pair of shoes. It was the first of many moments we'd share together. She shared her life map and then I knew her entire life story. We'd both endeared each other onto each other's hearts. Instant friends. This woman understands and speaks the language of my heart. It was a God thing. Undoubtedly.
Val's work gave her one weekday off per week. My work/school schedule also gave me a lot of weekdays "off". We decided that we'd do things together on our mornings off. We'd get lunch. We'd get boba. We also shared a love for half & half. And chirashi bowls at Ootoro. And shopping. And hiking.
I'd only known Val for a couple months at most at this point. We went hiking and I was sharing a dilemma I was working through. I had switched life groups because I wanted to avoid leading and avoid taking up responsibility... I just wanted to sit and do nothing and be a bump on a log. Is that an idiom? I wanted to be an unused butt wipe. Val stopped me right then and there. She told me that in the short time that she's known me, she'd already sensed God's calling for me and God's calling was not to hide, but to share and lead. I'd never really met anyone who had the boldness to share something like that pretty much right after meeting me... until Val. After she said that, my heart and brain pretty much stopped in its tracks. It was one of those moments where time stood still and I still remember that spot on that trail when she called me out on my stuff and set me back on a path of obedience. As if bonding over shopping, Cuban food, Nordstrom's, massages, pedicures and boba wasn't enough... this woman had nestled herself into my heart. Friendships like this only come from God.
I'd visit Val at work whenever I'd run my errands at the mall. We'd meet in the shoe section at Nordstrom's. Probably wasn't the best idea ever. I think I've bought 5 pairs of athletic shoes from Nordstrom since meeting Val. I brought her lunch once. We had a little picnic in the mall one day. It was a sweet memory. We'd run errands together and catch up.
This one time... someone in the life group told us that he was about to become a father in a couple weeks. And I'm not sure how it happened but I had an inkling that we should throw them a baby shower... I probably told Val... and the darn thing snowballed and I think that the way things ended up, we had less than a week to turn my inkling into reality. In one day, we went shopping, we built a diaper cake, we made a collage thing... and a gift basket. We made cake pops. I remember thinking as we were doing this thing together that... Val and I work really well together. It was almost... exponential productivity when we worked together on something. 1 + 1 = 5. Man... it was so easy it barely felt like work.
When Val moved into her new house... it was on the way home from work. I remember once... I was driving home from work and I started crying. I was crying so hard I could barely see straight. I thought about who I wanted to see in that moment and only one name came to mind. I wasn't sure if it'd be OK. I know I don't usually like people coming over almost unannounced. She's a better friend than I am for letting me do it. I was coming close to Val's exit. I made the quick decision to exit the freeway and made my way to her house.
I don't know how it was possible but God worked it out so that Val and I could talk that night. I'm sure Val prioritized me... over her husband and kids... and I know what a big deal it is to do that. I was in serious turmoil over a situation and I was flailing. I was confused. I was hurt. I was frustrated. Val took the time and she heard me. She heard my words but she also heard the things I never said. She knew me and my character well enough to help me sift through my emotions, sift through my confusion, and point me in the direction towards obedience once again. Spur of the moment... who else but the Holy Spirit could empower her to do that?
We don't always get a chance to see each other that often now that I'm so far away and her house isn't on the way home from work anymore, but every chance we do get, we pick up exactly where we left off as if no time had passed at all. I am constantly amazed by the quality and depth of friendships I've developed in recent years. People I've barely met... sometimes seems like I've known them my whole life. I know I'm forgetting a lot of things and I am certain I am not doing justice to the masterpiece that God did in both our lives, but I'm thankful for Val. Whenever I think about how easily we could have missed out on becoming friends... the timing of it all... I am amazed anew at the miraculous ways God worked in both of our lives to spur one another on... to love and good deeds.
Here's to Val... one of the wettest butt wipes in my pack.