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i’m not sure why but when it comes to this little online post-after-post of ideas and thoughts, i struggle with towing the line between “how much do you say?” and “well, if you’re glossing over this and sugarcoating that and leaving out that, then isn’t it all just superficial?” i’ve never really been one for detailing all the minutiae of life like, “and then i ate a peanut-butter sandwich,” preferring to save my typing for those elements that move me and that, i hope, others can learn from. and even though a lot of amazing things happen and i have a great time doing them, once they’re over, typically i don’t feel the need to recount and relay over the internet. i guess i just feel like once it’s happened, it’s kind of irrelevant. on to bigger and better things: the here and now.

it just ends up feeling patchworked and pieced together, with all sorts of gaping holes that i’m not willing to sew up or thread through.

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I know thanksgiving was officially a week ago, but I also know that a day is only just that—a day. And so today I feel like it’s more like thanksgiving than a week ago. Why? Quite simply, the power of friendship.

For awhile there, I was holed-up in myself. It was the holidays so people were busy and I was just in a mood where I didn’t really feel like reaching out. I didn’t feel like catching people up on what was going on, I didn’t feel like talking about it and rehashing it again and again. But then I realized that—while I hope I’m great company for other people—I’m not good company for myself in times like these. It reminds me of the part in Chronicles of Narnia when Father Christmas comes and says that winter is finally starting to end, and all the ice starts melting and the grass starts showing and then the rivers break free.  Things come back to life.

That’s what I look at my friends and see.
Friday:
Betsy called to set up a date, which goes to show that ESP runs her in her family because it was just what I needed. Even though I probably wasn’t willing to reach out, I needed that time. We went to Max and Erma’s and gorged on their soup and fries and sandwiches and all kinds of conversation. It was a nice relief to everything else.
Tuesday:
Lovelies date with Holly and Kitty, which included Chipotle and crafts trips. We hadn’t done one of those in quite some time, either, because Betsy’s been traveling, but I knew that I couldn’t wait. I couldn’t not “fellowship,” however much it’s nice to self-indulge and sulk.
Wednesday: Lunch with Bee, then small group with Cathy and Brianna, which I’ve realized I need greatly in my life. I’d never had much experience with small groups before, but now I’m a big advocate, because I can see that where I’ve been really sad lately, that outlet has also been missing. We didn’t meet for almost two months, which is about just as long as I’ve been feeling upset. And so I know that things will still be tough and all that, but I think that that’s a good anchor to keep in my life, because it’s so rooted in what’s real and spiritual and connecting.
And then! I got to talk for about an hour to my friend Kristin, who lives in Phoenix. My dear, dear Kristin, who I haven’t talked to in probably months. Fortunately, the time change is now on our side (Arizona doesn’t abide by the laws of time, evidently) so she’s only 2 hours behind. And it’s funny because I didn’t even meet Kristin until spring quarter of my senior year—Easter weekend to be exact. And when we did meet, we were both trashed (I’m almost certain it was the drunkest I’ve ever been). And yet, that’s all it took. Ever since, we’ve been close and I can remember when I moved to Birmingham, she was the one I talked to most, even though at that point we’d only been friends for 4 months.

And that’s the thing I love most about friends, about the friends that I’m so fortunate to have, is that you know how genuine the friendship is when you can go for a time apart and then come back together like it was only a moment, rather than weeks or months. It’s like, time doesn’t distance you like it normally would. I’ve always held those relationships up as my only tool for comparison when it comes to love. That they are true love, and that I’ll know romantic love from holding it up to that light. It’s a tool that I hold dearly because I know that even if nothing else does compare, that I always have it there, undeniably. Even when I push away, they pull back, because they love and they care and they are selfless and know what to do.

So, I’m thankful. Thankfully.

there’s one stretch of my drive home that is my favorite, and not because it’s the stretch before you turn into my neighborhood. from work, i drive through the area that wraps around the mall and shopping plazas on every inch of concrete. then, i hop onto the highway and drive south. i take my exit and am dumped, again, into suburban wasteland. but then, i round a corner and make my way into the next few blocks that never fail to make me smile.

this takes me through one of the more “ghetto” parts of town. meaning it’s run down. and you can tell because none of the storefronts have new signs; they’re all left over from the 50s and 60s, and all they offer up are sports bars and auto shops and a family dollar. but i think another repercussion of this is–and this is what makes it my favorite–that everyone congregates outside. on porches, on sidewalks, at the basketball court, at the corner stores…

and as i make my way through this area, eventually, after about 4 or 5 blocks, i have to make a right. cincinnati’s suburbs are such that you can go from one extreme to another as far as neighborhoods go just by crossing a street. there’s nothing gradual or a blending. it’s just plain obvious that you were Here and now you’re There. so with this one right turn, the houses become freshly painted and yards more manicured. and empty.

i love the concept of community and knowing your neighbors. i didn’t meet my one neighbor until about a week and a half ago (which, admittedly, was mostly my fault because i’d hide from her if i didn’t feel like talking). but we tend to lock ourselves up inside our houses and little worlds, and it’s kind of depressing how we shut ourselves off from all the others who are surrounding us who we aren’t taking the time to get to know. it just becomes so insular. and self-centered. but yet, here i am, inside, in my bedroom, typing away when i could be outside getting to know the kids who are forever running around and playing in the dirt.

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