Friday, August 12, 2011

Lots and lots of stuff going on!

I moved into my new house this past weekend with the help of 14 great friends and a 1.25 month old baby. I have to absolutely brag about my friends and how grateful I am for them -- you have to be a great friend to get up at 8 AM to avoid the 105F projected high, and to work in 90F, humid weather to move me out of my second floor apartment. I felt so loved. It sounds cheesy to say that, but seriously I thought in the middle of this "Wow, they are willing to give this huge chunk of their Saturdays for me? And get up so early on Saturday?! And help even though this historically hot weather smothers you the moment you walk outside?!" I was (and am) incredibly grateful for their help, and the spirit behind their help. Beyond the friends who helped with the move itself, there was a friend who stopped by to bring us cold drinks. There was another who watched someone's little daughter because she was pregnant and didn't feel comfortable doing all the lifting, and this freed up two more friends to be able to help. It was a real team effort and I was unspeakably grateful for and humbled by everyone's help. For someone who had a very long and hard season of isolation and crushing loneliness in Arkansas, it was incredible to realize how vast and rich my pool of friends here is now. Again, gratitude is the word that comes to mind -- not only for their help in moving, but for their friendship and for having them in my lives. I am so so blessed and grateful for each of them.

Along these lines, I had a birthday almost two weeks ago now. I think it was the best birthday I've had in probably 10 years. I loved it. My license expired this year so I had to get a new one. It was shocking to compare the new picture with the old. I am so much skinnier looking in this new one; in fact, I could not believe that I had a sleeveless dress on (I didn't think about having to take a license picture when I got dressed that morning -- let's blame my blondness) and that it looks really good in the picture. I then met my friend/new roommate for lunch, ran some more errands, went over to a friend's house (the one with baby Benson, my move in helper), and then met another friend for frozen yogurt where she had a very thoughtful surprise from my mom -- a beautiful bunch of gerbera daisies which are my favorite.

The day was so full (not in an "I'm running around and can't cram a single other thing in the day" kind of way, but in an "I can't believe what a good day this is, and my heart is about to burst" way.). It was only afterward when I reflected on it how different it was from the previous years' birthdays in Arkansas. Previously since I had very few friends in Arkansas, the way I celebrated my birthdays was with food. I'd let myself eat whatever I wanted in whatever amounts I wanted and say that that was just a part of celebrating. In contrast, this year I barely thought about food. Yes, I met friends for lunch/dinner, but food was really in the backdrop and not in the forefront of why we were getting together -- the real reason was to celebrate and have fun together, not to eat for the sake of eating. I thought to myself "THIS is what normal people must feel like around food" -- and it was not lost on me that, at least for the day, I fell into that category of people who were treating food as a part of the background of their lives, not in the starring role. I was amazed and, again, I felt very grateful.

It is incredible to think about how much God has blessed me in the last year, in very unexpected ways. I distinctly remember my birthday last year. I felt probably the worst I have ever felt in my life. I had been diagnosed with depression a few weeks earlier, and somehow putting a label on the emptiness I felt made me even a little sadder. I spent a good chunk of my day crying face down on the floor of my apartment thinking, "This is just not right. Life should not be like this." I was so lonely and sad and I felt utterly defeated. It was on that day that I gave myself permission to leave Arkansas. I cried and thought, "I have no good friends in Arkansas." I felt very strongly the voice of God whispering to me, "I am your friend." It sounds crazy -- well, it is crazy -- but it was unmistakable to me. I cry just writing about it.

I decided I would give myself one year. I would try in earnest to make friends one last time. I had already tried everything I knew to do (and my counselors agreed that the list was long and that I HAD tried a lot) one more time -- and if it didn't work out again this time, I would leave in a year with no guilt and absolutely no remorse.

The move to a place just across town (not out of the state, as I had contemplated a year earlier) and my birthday are a testament to how much God has helped me to make friends here. My friends here have affirmed that I am not weird (at least not enough to justify my having no friends), that I am valued, and that they love me -- and after the drought of local friends, the value of this is immeasurable and I in no way take this for granted.

There are other things I would have never guessed would happen over the last year -- moving in with a roommate after living alone for 10 years, joining a 12-step program, getting a year's extension on my tenure clock -- but I see God's hand in every one and am convinced this is what He has for me in this season of life. I want to learn every lesson and enjoy every day because His plan is best for me.

Just a quick update on life. It is really a great season of life right now, and for this I am unspeakably grateful especially after such a hard three year stretch after I first moved to Arkansas. The fullness and richness of life is certainly not lost on me.

(And by the way, the food part is going pretty well these days too. Again, I'm grateful.)

1 comment:

  1. Wow Sarah!!!! You look great! and SO HAPPY!!! I'm so happy for you that God is answering your prayers and moving in your life. God is good!


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