Sunday, March 30, 2008

on jeanine and friendship

'It's time to go.'

I have said these words before; once upon a time before I left Duvall for the City of Angels. They are hauntingly familiar. A season of my life is quickly coming to an end, and I more than most know what it feels like to buckle up and move forward; I know what it's like to pack up your life in flimsy cardboard and packing tape. I know what it's like to leave ones I love behind and to chase after the future with all that is in me. To be honest, there is always a part of me that is thrilled with the prospect of adventure and with the opportunities of what is to come.

But leaving for me is not so easy this time.

This year has been more up and down for me than most years I can remember; my spiritual life has been fighting for air while the flesh and humanity in me cries out for what is momentary. Jobs have been temporary, friendships I thought were deep at times have proved to be fleeting, and overall there has been an inconsistency that I had never before experienced. Throughout all of that, though, there has been onething that has stayed constant and true, and that is Jeanine.

I usually tend to avoid talking about people by name when I write, because I think usually the lessons learned in life are more important than attributing them to one specific person. But her heart and her character continue to overwhelm what I know as normal or preconceived, so I suppose part of me deems it necessary to recognize that spirit in her; to glorify the woman that I have been blessed to know and live beside this year.

Friendship with me is not always an easy ride, mostly due to my spontaneity and wanderlust, but she took it in stride, and counted it a blessing more often than not to fight my demons alongside me. There were many sleepless nights when I couldn't fight fear any longer and would crawl in bed beside her; there were days when all I needed was a shoulder and a sleeve to cry my heart out on. There were many trying moments; relationships in life fell apart and, more often than not, the plans that I made for my life proved to be futile.

There were all of those things, the tears and difficulties. But above
all else, there was permeating joy. I suppose more than anything I just wanted to remember; to make note in my mind of those everyday moments with her heart that changed me. I never want to forget, you know? I never want to let go of lessons learned and memories made.

Tonight our smiling faces flickered in the glow of candlelight, and our
seemingly dysfuntional family came together, probably the last time before my move, to celebrate one another and to dwell on what is good and beautiful and true, especially in Jeanine. We raised our glasses to friendship and to blessings; to recognizing that true and unconditional love is blind to flaws and wrongdoings. There was laughter, teary eyes, and lessons on packing with aluminum foil instead of newspaper.

This year held so much for both of us; conversations by the light of the fire, flickering shadows on the walls and watching the snow falling in the light outside the sliding doors. There was Christmas in October. There were autumn leaves and Friends marathons, moments of family crisis and spiritual healing. There was decorating for the holidays, our haphazard attempt to tie a tree to the roof of my car; birthdays and hard days, and sometimes they were one and the same. I remember tears and laughter, struggles and victories; I remember lighting candles, and days when my head was heavy and there was a bath drawn for me to wake me up for work that morning. I remember hand-scrawled notes left on my dresser, to remind me that God is good, and that every day is a new beginning.

It is with gladness that I know it is not the end; that I know our story remains unfinished and beautiful in being undone. It is with a smile that I look forward to days to come; that I know the day will arrive when we will 'remember when,' and revisit these times that our lives seemed broken but new. I will miss crawling into bed beside her, and I will miss our neurotic Tessie-dog making sure we are safe from harm. I will miss having someone ready and waiting to hear each new song that I write. But most of all, I will just miss my Jeanine, my constant... my mentor and friend.
I have been blessed with our season, and it is time to go.

There are friendships in life to look back on and only remember the life-changing moments, the hightlights. But there are others still that make the most of the journey; when every day is a highlight and every moment has the potential to be life-changing. I am proud to say that ours is the latter.

I love you J. I can't wait to see where our paths take us.

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