View of Doug and Heather's dog and the view past their back fence...
Well, we had another great gathering tonight! Despite the fact that it was raining, 5pm, and Election Tuesday, we still had a half dozen show up with close to a dozen kids in tow! The location turned out to be PERFECT as it was just the right size, had a kitchen for us, and a kids play room with lots of toys that we brought into the fellowship hall so we could all be together. The kids all got along famously! It was really great seeing them all just jump in and play together. Kids definitely keep ME young, how 'bout you?
It was really sweet watching a couple of people who came alone walk through the door. The courage it took them to carve out tonight and show up alone was awesome. I could see the look of apprehension on their face as they came in, like, "Wow, I've definitely never done THIS before!" I was quick to go right up and greet them with a big smile and a hug, and you could tell they appreciated that as much as I appreciated the fact that they had just walked through that door! Thank you to all of you who came out tonight, and thank you also to all of you who would have, if you lived closer.
I know my posts about challenging you all to come out to these events may bring some discomfort to some of you. I'm okay with that since that is the purpose; a challenge is meant to push you past your comfort zone. Now, of course I know that those of you who are in another state, or another country can't get there. I get that. I am interested in seeing how many that are within a reasonable distance will do something "out of the ordinary." Emotional blackmail? That's a little excessive. I re-read my post after I heard that one, and I don't agree. We looked at the map of all the readers of the blog and picked the largest concentrations/ metro areas and came to you. Period. We felt called to come to you, and when we got 10 yes's on the survey but only 2 actual RSVPs in TX, we were surprised. I push because I know what people say to me after they come. They say how glad they were that they did it. It's like goal setting; people think goal setting is about achieving a goal (product). No. THE MAGIC of goal setting is WHO YOU BECOME to achieve the goal (process). The product might be an event, which is transient, but the character forged to produce the event, that remains. My hope is that by pushing people to do something they might not normally do, when they find that "thing" in them that got them to do it, they realize that they can summon that same thing for anything else in their life that in the past may have seemed 'just out of reach.' I'll gladly take a little heat for pushing people to grow like that.
Jane, once again, put it best perhaps last night when describing the enemy as simply being geographical size. For example, I got a taste tonight of just how massive the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area is in size. (Texas really IS big - it's not just a saying!) It took us an hour to get to the church from Flower Mound, which is a suburb northwest of Dallas. Richardson is a suburb northeast of Dallas, but just outside the beltway. Imagine if we had to actually go into Dallas, or to the other side! My friend, Sam, who came and sang with me on Bella's song, came from Fort Worth, which is still a part of the same metro area, and it was a 3 hour round trip for him. Sam and I did our internship together in San Diego, along with Dayna in MN, though Sam and I only spent 3 months together, whereas Dayna spent the full 6 months together. Sam has a 22 month old at home and an 8 day old at home. It was so nice of Shelly, his amazing wife, to give him up for 3 hours so we could be together for this moment!
Anyhow, much love and respect was shared, along with a wonderful Texas pot luck! Coming together and breaking bread together, there's nothing like it.
My best friend Doug and me...
We are afraid of feeling better.
Ang and I worry about November 15. I worry about it a lot. Why? It's the day after the final memorial. It's the day life goes "back to normal." Now, we know there is no such thing, but the future we have been living in to these past weeks is the next gathering or memorial. What do we live into after the final one? That's an abyss that I just don't want to face. I know that the catch for me is to keep remaining somewhat busy, because if I just stop, I don't know if I could start again. I am afraid of how much this journey has really taken out of me, and I'm afraid to pull over and look under the hood.
The flipside of that is that we don't want to go back to our lives like Bella never existed either. I also know that that won't happen right away regardless, because frankly, our brains and bodies aren't working properly enough to support an ill-fated attempt at returning to the status quo. The simplest tasks are still taxing. We can get our energy up for a couple of hours a day, but that's about it. So much is Bella-centered that it is helping preserve her presence and ease the pain of her loss. When there are no more Bella events to focus on, well, I don't want to ever get there.
The conundrum here is that in order to manage our lives, we need to plan for tomorrow while living for today. This is tricky! Normally, we can plan events, schedules, commitments well into the future without too much trouble. Right now, that task literally hurts my brain to do! However, I realize that while I am enjoying today, much of the reason I am enjoying today is because I planned it sometime in the past! My brain right now just wants to quit planning. It hurts too much. However, I know that my mantra of "keep moving" is keeping me from totally crumbling.
I'll finish with the Providence story of the day:
It was not a direct route in which we found the church we used today. I started putting out feelers for a Dallas location while still in MN. It wasn't until I was driving around Winston-Salem that we finally locked down this spot. Ang and I really labored over where 'the best' place would be geographically in order to make it as feasible as possible for as many to make it as could. We had about 3 different churches presented to us, none of them this one. They just didn't feel right, so we asked for a church in Richardson. Sam's step-dad is a professor at TCU, and offered to help find a location for us. He spent ALL DAY Friday (literally) calling places and trying to find a Disciples/UCC church that could accommodate us on such short notice. Well, he got this church late in the afternoon, and it wasn't until late Saturday that I wrapped it up with the Pastor, David Cartwright.
So, today, Pastor David met me at the door to the fellowship hall. The door opened up to a hall way that has bathrooms and the kids play room, as well as access to the main hall. As I walked through the door, what was the giant quilt that greeted me? A six foot tapestry of hand drawn butterflies, each signed by their creator. The Pastor had no idea about the connection between butterflies and EB, but I knew right then and there we were in the right place.