Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Today I am grateful for another cluster of friends. When I “retired” it was not under the best of circumstances. I wasn’t ready to retire, financially or emotionally, but my work situation warranted that while it felt like the only solution, it was also the best one for me.
But I wasn’t well. My spirit had been squashed so badly that I didn’t recognize myself. My humor was gone. My positive attitude was gone. My hope was gone. My trust in people was gone. I know! That’s how bad it was. I turned inside, letting very few people in on what was going on in my life, or how devastated I was. It’s easy to ask for help when you’re strong and vital, but not so much when you feel bruised and broken. Remember that. I will. Always.
One of my friends, a wonderful, kind woman I met a billion years ago when I first began doing water aerobics at the high school, knew my pain. She invited me to lunch with her circle of friends. Every week. I don’t know how many lunches I attended before I started letting “the real Mary” out, but it was probably six months. That’s a long time to dance around your personality, monitoring every word out of your mouth, wondering if at some point one of them would see you are a fraud, or too loud, or too raw, or too stupid. . .and decide to un-invite you.
But they didn’t uninvited me. They held in and so did I. I started writing the gratitude blog to pull me out of my funk. Some of them read it. And liked it. Then I found my humor and more read it. Soon my words turned to hope. Trust returned. I’m back! They did not know how vital they were to my recovery because I never told them. Until now.
Last week’s lunch was at a place where we could sit outside. But there wasn’t room in the crowded alcove. Were we 5 or 6? I thought 5, others thought 6. Parking was a nightmare. Finally people left so we snatched a table and pulled in another chair. Then the 6th got there and two were going to take a tall table away from the group. That didn’t feel right to some, others were okay with it and others didn’t care one way or the other. Then another table of people left so shuffle, bam, boom, more tables and chairs were shoved around and we were all sitting together. . .just in time for the waitress to dump water all over the table using up every napkin we had. Then my salad dressing carafe decided to tip itself over sending oil and vinegar coursing towards my lap like lava! I snatched my salad bowl and held it under the table edge to catch the drippings before they landed on me. We’re a very classy crowd and not one lunch goes by without belly laughs, strong opinions, the occasional heated discussion, a little bit of gossip, and plans for next week’s lunch. I love these women!
I brought the camera along to the “must be a full-moon (there wasn’t) lunch debacle” and asked to take their picture for the blog and Facebook. Three were okay with it, two opted out and another one is out of town. Okay. That’s fair. That is why I asked. I love that everyone is comfortable enough with each other to be honest. I would never post pictures of someone without their permission, so just picture three more happy faces. You can even put your own in there if you want! Join the cluster of friends.