When she asked me, it seemed too far fetched. A trip across three states and back in 24 hours with 24 hours notice and 6 kids. My knee jerk reaction was to say no. No way. It's not possible.
Gas for our van is expensive. It was a holiday weekend and major roadways were a mess. Plus my husband would never go for it - leaving right after work, driving late into the night, staying with people he's only met casually a few times. There's not way it could happen...but then...maybe? As soon as I actually began to consider, I knew some way, some how, I'd make it work.
What do you call a hard season that doesn't seem to end? I'm beginning to think we call this "life." And Sara and I, we've been living some real life over the past few years. Through job loss, relationship struggles and the heartbreak of losing a child, we stagger along as best we can without falling to pieces. As long distance friends, we show up for one another from afar but a chance to see each other face to face? Yeah. I couldn't pass it up. I asked J. He answered yes before I even finished.
All the pieces fell together and we found each other again. Both battered, bruised and broken in our own way. Both exactly what we needed. 3 states. 24 hours. It was everything and it was nothing. Our kids played, we talked. It felt quite a bit like coming home. Never had something so hare-brained felt so easy.
That's the thing about being broken. Piece by piece, we can be rebuilt - and although the cracks and seams of our breaking point will never fully disappear, there's a special secret redemption there. It's through those silvery lines, those stretch and strain marks that His light shines most brightly through us. Through us, right out our broken imperfect lives, in and under and around all the struggles and hardship - that His goodness and mercy and truth is proclaimed right out loud. Not in the spaces where life is easy for us. Not in the things we aren't tempted by or struggle with. It's in the tough places, the spots where we are stretched so thin we might just snap - that's where He is proven again and again and again.
When we fall to pieces, it's not the end. When we smash hard at rock bottom, that's just the beginning - and not the beginning of the end.
Driving home in the middle of the night with music blaring to keep me awake and everyone else fast asleep, finding my way through the dark, I thought about these seams. Growth scars. These little glimpses of light we see in one another. My friendship with Sara is like that. A glowing reminder as I go along - even on this lonely journey that can be, at times, heart breaking - there's a constant presence. A constant light.
All wrapped around us, our pieces held in His peace. That's how you live a wrecked life beautifully, joyfully and bravely.
She smiles and I see Him shine right on through all she's lived through. And it's beautiful.
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