These next few months in New York became the time when some of my girlfriends saved me in more ways than they will ever know. Without the half marathon to focus on anymore, I became a zombie going through my days. The holidays were coming up, which was our busiest season at work, and that definitely helped keep me moving; but if I’m being honest, it was the support of my good friends Tiffany, Brittany, and Cheyenne that kept me from going completely crazy. Their willingness to join me on the front lines and help me fight for my sanity is an act of friendship I will never forget.
I wish I could say what I would have done if I had been in their place. I wish I could say for certain that I would have actively loved as well as they did. I don’t even know how they did it. It was like a sudden call to arms. They planned weekend outings for me, they checked on me during work, they would go out of their way to meet me for dinner. They knew what I loved about the holidays and made sure I got to have those experiences. They listened to the same terrible stories over and over again. I never seemed to be an inconvenience for them, even though I’m sure I was. You’ll hear about them a lot in this blog, especially in the upcoming months, because they were there. They were present. They lived this awful experience with me. And most importantly, they kept space for me.
It is rare to find those friends who truly keep space for you. Friends who accept your situation, are strong enough to stand with you, and expect nothing in return. Friends who aren’t hurt when you can’t be all that you want to be for them. Friends who understand that if they are patient, you will return to them. When you are healed. When you pull yourself together. When time has allowed your wounds to become scars so that you can finally feel like yourself again. These were my girlfriends. Space keepers. Givers. The strongest women I know.
The weekend after I returned from Florida, Tiffany and Brittany had planned our first official holiday gathering. Tickets to see the Rockettes followed by brunch. Excellent. Something to look forward to. The relief that I wouldn’t be alone. A reason for joy. Christmas in New York was beautiful and we were starting it out on the right foot. A whole day where I got to forget my life was in the crapper. I got up early and actually felt excited. I put a festive bow in my hair (I love bows. I am 33. I am not ashamed by my bow love). On my way out the door my husband stopped me. “I don’t think you should spend all day with them. If we are going to work this thing out, we need to spend time together. You need to come home.” I told him I had already committed to the show and brunch. It would be rude to cancel, but I would be straight home after that. He wanted me to come home!! This was shaping up to be a great day.
It was a lovely morning. Sitting among friends and enjoying one of those special New York “touristy” experiences. They didn’t pry. They didn’t offer up opinions on my current situation. They just let me be happy. For one morning. For a few hours. They let me be me. After brunch, I explained that I needed to leave. My husband wanted to spend time with me. This was wonderful. This was what I had been waiting for. This was a step in the right direction. They seemed happy for me and wished me well as I headed home. I felt a tinge of regret that I wouldn’t spend the rest of the day window shopping with them. Looking at the Christmas decorations. Partaking in fun holiday drinks. But this was more important.
When I got home, he was watching football. I asked what he wanted to do. Did he want to talk? Go for a walk? Grab coffee? No. He just wanted to watch football. I didn’t understand. Why had he made me leave if he didn’t want to actively be with me? Was he trying to take away every last bit of joy I had left in my life? Was it a control issue? Was he trying to remind me that he was still the man of the house? I felt aggravated. The ole bait and switch. What could I do? I loved him. At least he wasn’t pushing me away. Shouldn’t I just be content with being in his presence? Doing something a normal married couple would do together? Maybe I could count this as a small victory. I changed clothes, took out my bow, and sat down beside him; in silence, while he watched football.
James 1:23-25 “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law of Liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”