Last week was a week rich in friendship. Frankly, I’m still in awe.
First, I visited Don and his daughter Dawn. We had breakfast together, then went to Jan’s former studio for more sorting and donating. It was a productive day and at the end, Don gave me one of Jan’s journals/sketchbooks. It was one that documented some of our painting trips together. Waterfall hunting in the UP and Drummond Island. I was deeply touched and enjoyed reading her notes. Then I pulled out my own journals from those trips and had a quiet evening reminiscing our friendship.
The following day was a gathering of my martial arts family to celebrate our teacher and to break bread together. We put on a mean potluck, I must say, but I had to leave early because I was meeting a friend I hadn’t seen since college. We had reconnected through Facebook – sometimes a very handy tool.
She and I met at our former campus and then spent the rest of the afternoon catching up and strolling through Frederick Meijer Gardens. It was a day of great joy and I was wistful as she got into her car to start the four hour drive back to her home.
After a weekend like that, it couldn’t get much better, could it? It did.
Monday, I had plans with another friend to take her to a coworker’s hosta garden. This garden is amazing and is on bus stops for garden tours. Gayle wanted to see it, so I made arrangements for our visit. I drove to her house because we had planned to have breakfast together first. She said we’d be eating outside, so she led the way. My first thought was that she must had had a small group over the night before and wanted to reuse the table setting. It was beautiful and there was room for 10 people.
Then, I saw a group of women hiding around the corner. Still, I was confused. These were women from different areas of my life who didn’t know one another. How were they all there at the same time and for what? By now you, dear reader, know that it was a surprise party. I, however, am not the brightest bulb in the pack. I was trying to reconcile everything that was happening, while they were all laughing at me. Truly, it was successful in the surprise department. Especially, since it wasn’t my birthday, yet.
Nicholas Sparks said, that love, in a nutshell was about giving not receiving. But if you don’t receive love that is given, you rob yourself and you rob the others who are giving it. Because of my background, I often struggle to believe I am cared for. By friends, by family, or by God… it is just hard for me to receive and believe love. That false belief was seriously challenged after a week like this and I am seriously glad.
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.