Tag Archives: friendship

Mawwiage

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Well. They’re married. Their happily ever after has begun.

Two of my four adopted sisters are now happily married. All the dreaming, all the planning, all the hoping and wishing has come true for these dear girls.

The remaining three of us will sleep very, very well tonight and dream dreams of our own.

And that is all.

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Hullabaloo

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The wedding is tomorrow. Let the panicking commence.

(For those of you who just tuned in, the tomorrow’s wedding is not mine. Believe me, if I were the one getting married tomorrow, this post would be shorter. And more frantic. And I would’ve mentioned the wedding in about every post for every day for about a year in advance. No, tomorrow’s wedding is my childhood friend’s. I’m playing the violin in her wedding. That is the extent of things.)

There’s a lot involved in weddings that’s awfully superfluous. I know that’s a strange thing to hear a woman say, but it’s true. A wedding is about two people vowing to love only each other for the rest of their lives. There’s more to it than signing a contract, but signing the contract and saying the vows in the presence of witnesses is all that’s legally and spiritually necessary.

But humans are humans, therefore there are traditions. Wedding cakes. Special wedding clothes. Catering. Decorations. Flowers. Long guest lists. Photographers. Bridal parties. Groomsmen. Flower girls. Ringbearers (you’d better believe mine will be barefoot and wearing trousers with suspenders). Toasts to the couple. Receiving lines. Musicians. Gifts for the bridal party. Guestbook attendants. Wedding favors. Tensions, tension, tension.
Believe me, I understand why all of the trapping exist. A wedding happens once. True love is a big, hairy deal that comes around once in a lifetime and deserves to be celebrated. I mean, think about it. Two people find each other—miraculously, considering the amount of humans on the planet. They get along. They overcome each other’s differences. They make each other better people. They have fun together. They know how to work as a team. They fit. Getting two people to fit is a supernatural occurrence. Getting two people to commit to each other, given the human aversion to commitment of any kind, is nothing short of miraculous. So the vows are a big deal. Love should be a celebrated thing, since there is so little of it in the world.

However, the trappings are frustrating. Lovely. Unique. Fun, even, once they’re done. But frustrating. And, because so much importance has been attached to the trimmings, they can be divisive as well.
I know my day will come, and I’ll want the trimmings. I’ll want unique decorations and special music and a pretty dress. I’ll want a cake (who doesn’t want cake?) and bridesmaids and a guestbook and most of the usual wedding things (though certainly not all of them). But I’d like the extra to serve the necessities: I want the guests to notice the God of love more than the wildflowers I’m holding or the way my hair is done. I want things to look nice and run well because I want people to know that God made love, that God is love, and that God gave me someone to love who loves me, too.

All you need is love, folks.

But a celebration is a celebration. And I’ve got a lot of celebrating to do over the next few days. My friend’s wedding is going to be beautiful. She’s beautiful, her groom is handsome, and their love is a beautiful, beautiful God-given thing. And in the end, that’s what will shine through.

The Journey Begins

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There’s no rest of the wicked and the righteous don’t need it. So they say, Either way, I’m not getting much rest for the next four weeks.

Tomorrow I head out on the Last Sisterhood Road Trip. It’ll only be three of us this time–the three of us in a car, embarking on an epic quest, wayfarers with the wind at our backs headed to the mystical land of Wisconsin to attend our sister’s wedding.

This should be fantastic!

Not sure what my internet connection will be like for the next few days…expect short posts (yea, even shorter) and don’t ever expect them to make sense.

Good night, my lovelies! I’m up at 4 tomorrow.

Four

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I’m grateful for supportive friends. Friends are the family we choose for ourselves. God plopped the perfect friends in my lap—He did it years ago.

I started into college with good friends. Friends I’d had for years. My sisters and my fellow Anytown Academy students. A lot of my fellow high school graduates and I are no longer in touch. But I have memories of them—memories of things they said or did that made a lasting positive impression.

Then there’s my four adopted sisters. I do not exaggerate when I say I would not have survived college without them. Or life, for that matter.

And I made friends in college. Not as many as they said I would, but I tend to aim for quality of quantity. I can safely say I’ve made friendships that will last forever. Friendships that generate joy and sustaining love. Again, without these friendships, I would not have survived. You think I’m hyperbolizing. I’m not.

I have been astoundingly blessed. 

The Best Medicine

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Stress kills.

We make light of stress. We laugh about pulling all-nighters and living on coffee. Stress infests a culture of all go and no stop. Stress leads to heart strain and worn out adrenals and crippling hormonal imbalances. Stress leads to poor sleep, and little of it—which perpetuates the problem.

But there’s always so much to do.

This semester I deliberately cut way, way back on activities. Accumulated stress led to health issues I won’t elaborate upon here. Let’s just say it takes something pretty serious to make me want to slow down.

It’s been a long, hard four years. Four years of non-stop action. Late nights and early mornings. Bad food. Poor sleep. Little exercise. I look vastly different from the way I did when I began—and not in a good way either.

So how does one combat the effect of four years of debilitating stress?

Tonight, I laughed.  

Not just a little chuckle. A deep, silly, unrestrained belly laugh. Nothing caused it but good company and a half-baked joke. And lying on my back, which always makes me laugh even harder.

I and three of my friends sat on a couch and laughed. We howled. Tears streamed from our eyes. Our stomachs hurt from the exertion.

Yet once we gasped enough air back into our spent lungs, we felt so much better. It was as if all four years or anxiety rolled away.

I should do that more often. 

Vive la Compagnie

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I picked the perfect major.

The individuals that populate the UU creative writing program are among the most unique people I have ever known. They are unabashedly themselves—a trait I admire in anyone, but especially in writers.

We’re an odd rabble of characters. Some of us do theater on the side, others spend more time in the library than out of it, and almost all of us love Doctor Who. It’s fairly clear which of us grew up on Tolkien and which of us grew up on Montgomery. Or both.

It’s the only group I’ve ever known that will hold educated arguments about Paolini, Dante, and the Oxford Comma—often all in fifteen minutes, and often all at once.

We root for each other. I’m unsure about whether or not we’ve read each other’s writing, but we’ll allude to our personal projects a lot. Such ideas meet with cheering and encouragement on all sides—even from our more stoic members.

My major consists of fun people. Fun, weird, hilarious, and brilliant people. And I am so glad to have become their friend over the last four years.

May they never lose their oddacity.  

Recitals

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There are few greater privileges than knowing someone for your whole life. I went to a small elementary school (and nursery school, and junior high, and high school) almost entirely populated by children whose parents were all coworkers. Most of our parents worked where they worked just so their children could have a good education. Well, we got a good education, and had the added joy of watching each other grow up.

The two that come to mind tonight were born the same month that I was. One was born 20 days before me, the other ten days before. We had adjacent cradles in nursery, sat next to each other in classes, and even ended up in the same German class in high school.

College blew us in different directions. We three ended up at the same university, but spent most of our times in different corners of campus. One lived in the speech wing of the Fine Arts building and in the many theaters on campus, honing his acting skills. Another lived in performance halls and practice studios, becoming an accomplished clarinetist. I lived in the library, various theaters, and wherever I could hide so I could write things without interruption.

Needless to say, we haven’t really kept in touch over the last four years.

The performance majors require final recitals. For one of these two, that meant a final acting performance—in his case, the most memorable role in a stage adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch. His performance was nothing short of masterful. It brought tears to my eyes—not just because he performed so well, but because I could easily remember him as a little boy, as a teenager, and remember all the things he struggled with and overcame. I was unbelievably proud of him.

My other friend’s recital was today. She took up clarinet at the age of ten and quickly established herself as a competent player. She excelled through high school, and excelled still more in college. Her recital was a thing of beauty. I didn’t know a clarinet could be expressive until I saw her play. She made it look easy. I knew it couldn’t be—I studied an instrument for years and I know how physically taxing it can be—but she made it look as if playing the clarinet was the most natural thing she could possibly do. I was equally proud of her.

My thoughts delved further inward as I watched her play. As a writing major, I do not have a final project. Sadly, I do not get to take the stage and recite the poems I’ve written or read the stories and essays I’ve penned in order to pass my classes. None of it will be put on display, and none of it has been published—though a bit has been performed. Very few people will know how much I’ve done over the last four years, nor how thoroughly I have been trained. I suppose I should have written a novel by now, but that certainly hasn’t happened. No, I just wrote myself silly so I could get a degree that ensures I will continue to write myself silly for the rest of my life.

But life, after all, is everyone’s final project. We work hard so we can become the best people possible—as for myself, I intend to be the best follower of Christ I can possibly be. My life is a project, continually guided and assessed by the Person who began it. At its conclusion, I hope to receive a grade of “Well done,” and am working towards that end. We shall see.

Until then, here I am. Writing. Writing about people I love doing the things that they love, observing who they choose to love and loving what they choose to do. Life is such a many-splendored thing. I and my childhood friends may graduate soon, but that doesn’t mean we’re done. No, we’ll have far to go. But it’s a journey worth taking.

I wonder where we’ll be ten years from now. 

Early Exit

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It’s bad enough when you have to leave a movie theater early. Even in the dark of the hall, people can see your silhouette on the silver screen. You have to climb over people and tread on toes on your way out. It’s embarrassing and certainly frustrating to the other moviegoers.

But what’s even worse is having to leave the theater early in the middle of a live performance.

 I’m not talking about a rock concert. I’m not even talking about a classical music concert. I’m talking about a play. A good play. An excellent play. The sort of play where you can tell that every actor is giving his or her utmost to every line, every movement, every facial expression. The sort of play where the audience is riveted, unable to tear their eyes away from the action.

Riveted, that is, until that dumb chick in the front row decides she has to get up and leave ten minutes before the play is over.

That dumb chick was me. I confess it freely. The play began at 2, so I thought I’d have plenty of time. My work shift begins at 4, and the play was still chugging toward the finish at 3:55. I left because no one wanted to take the first twenty minutes of my work shift so I could stay until the play closed. I did try to get someone, but received no affirmative answers. Rumor had it the play only lasted an hour and a half. The play was excellent, but was much longer than an hour and a half.

I don’t know how it ended. What’s worse, I distracted from the action by getting up and leaving. As an actress, I know how unbelievably annoying that is. What’s worse still, the play’s leading man is one of my childhood friends, and this play is his senior project. And I just walked out. I feel terrible.

Ah, well. These things do happen. To make up for it, I shall attend the play again on closing night. And this time, I won’t budge from my seat until the final curtain falls.

Now I have greater sympathy for those who randomly walk out on performances. I don’t know what they’re going through. Maybe they just have to go to work. 

Opposites Attract

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I have this friend. She is nothing like me. And we’re okay with that.

Alright, I have a lot of friends like this. Most of them are. In fact, I have yet to meet a person who reminded me of me other than my mother, but she’s oodles sweeter than I’ll ever be.

The friend in particular that I have in mind is different from me idealistically. She is a hopeless romantic. I am a cynic/realist/disappointed idealist (believe it or not).

She is a fairy princess. I’m more of a fairy godmother. Be back by midnight, or else.  

She is head over heels. My heels are still quite firmly fixed on the ground—though my head is often in the clouds.

She sees the world through rose-colored lenses–nothing in the future could possibly go wrong. I’m pretty sure my glasses are grey. Protects my retinas.

She adores babies. I never know what to do with them, other than make faces at them.

Her heart is on her sleeve. Mine is securely fastened in my chest.

But yet, we are friends. We are good friends, and we will probably always be friends.

You see, differences are what bind us. If we were all the same, I doubt we’d find each other even remotely interesting. It helps to have a romantic’s perspective on the world—it makes me a better person to think about the way others think about the world. 

Flight of Fiction (21)

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Two days on the road, and the Troupe was getting closer and closer to the foot of the Mountains. The long shadow of those craggy hills stretched over them as they marched through the forest. Though they had begun their journey rather jollily, talking and laughing amongst themselves, now they were quiet. All that could be heard was the sound of their feet sliding through the fallen leaves.

Zon was at the head of the line, Ameryn close behind. Enilor loped along beside Narina, taking two hops to every one of the Sprite girl’s long strides. The others followed in the single file, Zon’s brother and the giant Loui bringing up the rear, walking backwards, covering their tracks.

The sun set behind the Mountains, making them look even darker and more sinister, a feat Ameryn had hardly imagined possible. Zon put up his hand, and they came to a halt, silently setting up camp in the shadow of silence that loomed over them. Enilor quickly busied herself with making a fire, but its small red light seemed too weak to illuminate the gathering dark.

They sat in silence around the fire, eating salted meat and dried fruit and hardly daring to look at each other. Ameryn noticed that Narina would not touch her rations. She sat with her knees up under her chin, staring into the shadows with her back to the fire.

Suddenly, Zon’s voice broke the silence.

“We should rehearse,” he said.

There was a pause.

“D’you think it’s safe, Zon?” asked Enilor. It was not much of a question; her paws were already hovering over the clasps on her fiddlebox.

“Listen,” he replied. “It’s utterly silent. Nothing lives at the foot of these hills. Nothing dares.”

“They fear what’s in the Moutains,” Loui mumbled.

“I say the greater evil lies beyond them,” Zon answered. “No evil could be greater than the evil that holds sway over Nanduvar. And unless we rehearse,” he said, his eyes sparkling, “we won’t beat him.”

“Not a chance,” said Enilor with a wicked little smile, her fiddle already tucked under her chin.”

There was a rattle and a clatter of wood on wood, with some noncommittal low booming noises as the troupe pulled out drums and tambourines and pipes and who knows what other instruments from their bags and their tents. In seconds, every musician was ready, each poised with their fingers to their instruments and their eyes watching Zon. With a quick inhale and a flick of his wrist, they began.

Ameryn had never heard anything like it. The music was wild, rhythmic—as untamable as those that played it. Enilor skipped around the fire, sawing away on a song that sounded like every lark was singing at once. Loui’s drums made the earth throb, and the taurlin twins whistled out lively harmony on their panpipes. Zon strummed at his lute, his sister plucked a harp, his brother took to the bells and other percussive things Ameryn had never seen before. Narina closed her eyes to the dark and spun around the fire in the otterling’s tracks, her light palm beating the tambourine as she danced to rival the flicker of the flames.

Ameryn sat with her knees held to her chest, her eyes wide in awe. She had never seen anyone so happy as these vagabonds, each of them lost in the world of their own, but somehow producing the most joyous sound she had ever heard in her life.

Suddenly she found herself pulled to her feet. Zon had grabbed ahold of her hands, and was grinning at her.

“Do you dance?”

“Er—ah—well,” Ameryn stuttered, her face feeling very warm, “court dances, yes, but, uh, nothing that would go with this sort of—music.”

“Try,” Enilor yelled over the din. “T’ain’t too hard—just skip, girlie!” The rest cheered encouragingly.

“Come on,” said Zon, “see what you can do.”

He pulled her with him, leaping in time to the music. Ameryn fumbled along behind, gasping for air, and laughing. Laughing at herself, laughing at him, laughing with all of them as they cheered her on. She didn’t get the hang of it until Zon launched her into a spin that sent her flying a few feet. She landed, looked down at her dusty, red feet, and realized she hadn’t fallen.

“This isn’t—half—bad!” she gasped. She was not used to laughing.

“Told you so!” Zon yelled. Narina caught Ameryn’s hands and spun with her, then passed her to Claritas, then to one then the other of Zon’s siblings, and at last again to the man himself, who took her around twice, three times again. The song ended, and they all collapsed into laughter and applause.

“There!” Zon said, “That’ll put the darkness to shame!”

They laughed and cheered some more, and played a song or two, some soft, some loud, some joyful, some heart-wrenching. At last, the instruments were put away, and every musician crawled into the comfort of tent and blanket. Ameryn drifted off to sleep in Claritas’ tent, her head throbbing with the wildness of the music and the newfound gift of laughter.

Dreams: a Post by Two Authors

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Everything happens for a reason.

Even dreams.

Sometimes even nightmares.

Even being better at something than you thought you were.

Even falling down.

Even stargazing and discovering something discovered eons ago.

Even bonfires.

Even friendships.

Even adventures.

Alright. Especially friends, and especially adventures, when put together.

So here’s to friends on adventures. Here’s to falling down and getting up. Here’s to stargazing.

Here’s to dreams. 

The Week in a List

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  1. There is no such thing as enough sleep.
  2. You are never too old for Disney movies.
  3. Good friends make everything better.
  4. Working ahead is very rewarding.
  5. Falling behind most definitely is not.
  6. Doughnuts are delicious, especially when paired with coffee and a read-through of the libretto to a musical. That you’re in.
  7. Rain makes umbrellas sprout along the dormitory halls like colorful mushrooms.
  8. Actions speak louder than words, even if those actions are communicated via text messaging or email.
  9. A chaplain’s work is never done.
  10. It is Autumn Eve. Brace yourselves, pumpkin everything is coming.
  11. God is always good, and His timing is always perfect. 

Flight of Fiction (17)

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As weary from the day’s travels as she was, Ameryn could not convince her body to sleep. She was on her back, staring at the ceiling of the tent she had been sharing with Claritas and Mesmeralda, the taurlin sisters. Those two were sleeping peacefully, their deer bodies curled gracefully underneath them, leaning their torsos against each other’s for support. The chill had seeped through Ameryn’s blankets, the numbness in her extremities prodding her awake every time she neared sleep.

On her first night with the troupe, she had slept just fine. Better than fine—it was the first night in years that she experienced a deep, untroubled sleep. She felt for the first time on her journey that everything would turn out for the better. With the Troupe’s cunning and Zon’s leadership, Aileen was as good as saved. But another day of travel had dimmed the dream. What if they didn’t make it to Nanduvar in time? She couldn’t bear the thought of what might happen to the princess if there was any further delay.

After a few more fruitless moments of tossing and turning, she gave up with a huff, pulled her blanket around her and crawled out of the tent, heading for the fire.

Zon was there, seated on the ground with his back to the flames. Watching the darkness. His sword was unsheathed and resting on his knees.

Ameryn said nothing, but sat down on the opposite side of the fire from him, the side closest to her. She held her hands out from underneath her protective covering of woolen blanket, trying to warm them. The flames made an eerie shadowplay with the scars on her hands. She thought she saw faces for a moment, grinning back at her, winking. She looked into the flames instead.

Zon said nothing. Surely he knew she was there.

“It’s your watch, then?” she asked tentatively.

Zon turned halfway, smiling at her from over his shoulder. “Afraid so. Loui couldn’t keep his eyes open much longer. Listen.” He pointed over to the longest, lowest tent. Ameryn heard the low rumble of the giant’s snore.

“That snore has got to be our biggest security risk,” he added, shaking his head and chuckling. He shifted so he, too, was facing the flames. “Couldn’t sleep?”

“No,” Ameryn replied, rubbing her hands together. “It’s too cold to sleep.”

“They don’t think so,” Zon said, gesturing around to the tents filled with sleeping musicians.

“They’re probably used to it. I haven’t slept outdoors since…well, you know.” She was smiling, but sheepishly. Why was she sheepish? Zon was no one to fear. “I’m used to sleeping indoors, and at the foot of Aileen’s bed. Until she’s safely home, sleep won’t come easily.”

Zon made no reply except for a nod, which Ameryn caught in her peripheral. Ameryn glanced up to make sure he wasn’t looking at her so she could study his face freely. He was looking at the fire, his mind turned inward. His face was smooth. Scarless. He seemed free of worry. Odd for a man always on the run, she thought. Odd for a man who, too, knows the meaning of slavery. At least he escaped with no scars. She touched her own face out of habit. Yes. Hers were still there.

The boy raised his eyes. Blue met brown, and she quickly turned hers downward. Why would he even want to look at her? She pulled her hands beneath the blanket and wrapped her arms around her knees protectively as she pulled them to her chest. She had never felt more hideous than she did at that moment, under his threatless gaze.

“Ameryn,” Zon said, quietly. His voice was so gentle, unlike any other voice—any male voice—she’d ever heard. She couldn’t look at him.

“Ameryn,” he repeated, just as gently, “what happened?”

We

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We’re poems, we,

you, madam, and me.

 

I’m a limerick, I know,

I know,

and you’re an epic, you know,

you know.

 

Together, though,

 

We’re something new—

the mystery of me and you.

 

What could we be, we two,

we two?

Quite possibly, we two,

we two

 

are rhymes no one

has heard before:

 

you and me, and

one thing more:

 

the love that’s born anew,

anew,

when shared between us two,

us two—

 

“I’ll dance and sing it through,”

says you,

and I reply, “Me too,

me too.”