Becoming Real

Ray and I just returned from a long weekend in Oregon, where we attended my high school’s 20 year reunion. I don’t know about you, but my memories of high school are definitely a mixed-bag, and it was time I would not willingly repeat. So, I was curious to see if the cliques still thrived and the masks remained in full use.

What I found is that in twenty years’ time we had all lost something: love or a marriage, a job, a dream or even a child. These losses broke our hearts, and rubbed us raw — rubbed us until we became like the Velveteen Rabbit. I don’t know if I met transformed hearts, or hearts freed by loss from masquerading, but it was a joy reconnecting now that we have all grown up and become real. I have to say that without exception the women were all more beautiful than the dreaded senior pictures on our nametags. It could be because we were no longer sporting those dreadful 80s hairdos, but really I think it’s because we grew into ourselves.

What humbled me was how many of them said that they had been praying for Abbie…people who I hadn’t seen since graduation! Of course, there was a short list of people I was truly hoping to see, one of whom was my buddy Mark. During our senior year I recall just a few times where we excused ourselves from Marine Biology, and went through the drive-through at McDonald’s to order two waters. As I wandered through the high school party scene, and somewhat lost my way, Mark was there shining the light of Christ into my life with a good joke and Chicago playing on the radio.

As Ray and I talked to Mark and his wife, Tiffany, the brokenness of our hearts bridged the years as they spoke about watching their first son die at 2 months of heart complications. Knowing they were veterans of this same pain, we shared many details of Abbie’s injury and recovery. At the end of the evening, Mark said, “I know it’s hard to tell the story, but I want to really thank you for sharing it.” 20 years melted away, and I could almost taste McDonald’s water through a plastic straw.

I opened my email this morning to find a short note from Mark, who said he tried to post in the guestbook, which currently isn’t working – so he sent his message via email.

“One of the many things that has changed in me in the twenty years since water at McD’s is that my vision and practice of prayer has been confused and disoriented. But, I prayed for Abigail tonight and I am thanking God for a timely reunion with an old friend.”

The treasure of true friendship is so often revealed when the storms blow away the sand — yet another reason to praise God for the rain.

Whenever I return home from a few days away, I prep myself for the “reentry phase” with Abbie. It takes a couple days for me to slow back down to her speed and really reconnect with her. Often, it is a little hard on my heart as I realize, yet again, how different our life is and how far we have to go. This time, for the first time, there was no readjustment, just pure joy. She looks SO good, and is so bright and “with-it” that I just had to giggle.

Yesterday evening our friend who kept the twins during the weekend called to check in. He brought the kids to see Abbie on Saturday, and told Ray, “Man, she looked good.” Ray responded with, “Yea, we know..” and he came back with something like, “No, Ray, I mean she looked REALLY GOOD, she was tracking with her eyes and everything..” How exciting to have our impressions validated by other sets of eyes!

Going away requires such a team effort on this end…to have the boys taken care of and taken to school, and to have Abbie cared for around the clock. We owe big thanks to the McDaniels, Infantes, Bosgras and Odas, as well as Debbie and Dayna. And then there is Genevieve…She stayed overnight with Abbie on Saturday night. Then, the nurse scheduled for Sunday called in sick, so Genevieve stayed all day until Debbie relieved her in the evening. The nursing agency offered to try to find another nurse, but Genevieve refused this offer saying she didn’t want to leave Abbie with someone who didn’t know her well enough. Did I already mention treasures revealed by storms…well, Genevieve is one of our gems!!

We’ll try to get the guest book at the main site up again, but in the meantime feel free to post at this page…your comments are a treat to us!

3 thoughts on “Becoming Real

  1. Tiffany,

    I was so glad to hear that you enjoyed your High School Reunion. I’m so glad to hear that all went fine at home.

    I know that Abbie’s birthday is coming up soon, been thinking of you and her a lot lately. I’m so thankful to hear that she is doing so well. I’m anxiously waiting to hear what school she will be attending.

    I was crying as I read your post about Abbie’s surgery, just know I will keep you and Abbie in my prayers often as the time approaches.

    You never cease to amaze me with your wonderful blog entries, I know one day I will be reading your book and enjoying every word you write in it.

    Be blessed my dear friend!
    Sue

  2. Happy, blessed birthday to the precious mom of precious Abbie!!!!! May this new year be overflowing with bountiful blessings as you journey onward & upward, my dear sister! We love you!!! Birthday hugs in Jesus!!
    Psalm 139:13-16
    & extra xoxoxoox 4 Abbie!! : )

  3. I know I should just give you a call, but I’m just now catching up on life after our last sick bug caught our home. I’m dying to know what you decided about school for Abbie? How are you all doing? How was her birthday? I know that you are getting ready for the big surgery date, I’m praying that all will go smoothly.

    May God richly bless you today as you continue on this journey my dear friend.

    Love in Christ,
    Sue

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