I was busy in 2008. I ran every day. I created adventures individually worthy of several scrapbook pages each weekend. I planned dinner parties regularly. I played sand volleyball instead of napping when I exhausted. I was the last to leave game nights. I always had time to stop by El Arroyo, ending Sundays with Ascent Leaders. I would dance country at least once a week, always on Thursdays. I woke up before the sun. I went to sleep long after what should have been an appropriate bedtime. I met friends for coffee and always said “yes” to lunches. I went to more committee meetings than any one human being should endure for a life time. I was busier than ever at work , juggling a gazillion balls up in the air at the same time, hoping that they wouldn’t all fall…at least not simultaneously.
And I was drinking probably way too much coffee, racing a million miles an hour and loving every single minute of it.
Busy wasn’t in my vocabulary because I didn’t have time to talk about it, think about it or do much besides wake up each day and do what needed to be done.
And yes, I loved it.
Life was full and vibrant and interesting and changing and exciting. Friendships felt real. Relationships were growing. Authenticity was contagious.
I was living in Austin the time and had three friends named Heather. We had a good time. Showing up at the Broken Spoke together. Logging miles around Town Lake. Crawling through caves. Instantaneous dance parties. Hanging out at my brother’s house. Doing Bible study weekly. Watching too many episodes of Criminal Minds (I blame Shaw for this). Having a whole lot of fun.
One of those Heathers was born on Valentine’s Day and wanted, for a change, to celebrate on her actual birthday. Not too much to ask, right? Well, seeing as going out to eat or any place special enough to mark the ocassion was nearly impossible and practically out of question, we decided to have a small gathering of friends for fondue at my place. It was a Monday night. There was much laughter.
The idea to do this at my house seemed like a good one ahead of time. But the evening leading up to it turned into a little more of a chaotic disaster than expected. Work, running, life…all seemed to explode all at the same time. Oh, and the party was about to start. In the desperate attempt to get ready in time for the guests to arrive, I all but took a forklift and threw the random junk that had accumulated in the common area and stuffed it in my bedroom like a young child would sweep toys under the bed to quickly attempt to pass Mom’s inspection. I cleaned the bathroom, ran the dishwasher, got changed and – whew! – managed to open the door not completely in a frenzy when the first guests arrived.
One of those guests was Reba. Reba, since then, continues to be one of my dearest friends in the whole wide world. There were no secrets, or so I thought, hidden. She arrived a few minutes after several others, including the birthday girl herself. As she walked in, said her hellos and breezed past me, she continued on, saying, “oh, I just need to take care of something,” as she opened my bedroom door. My bedroom that, at that moment, was a horrid hiding place for all the clutter and junk in my life. All the things that I couldn’t control or clean up on time. The clothes that needed to be folded, the piles of papers waiting to be filed and the shoes that never quite made it to the closet.
I tried to stop her. I really did. I didn’t want Reba to go inside and discover the dirty – literal – truth. I was a mess. I had been attempting to keep it all together in that which was one of the craziest, busiest seasons of life, giving all the unintentional impression that I could do it all. Flawlessly.
“Oh, good, I’m so glad that you’re a real person,” she said with a giggle, “I was starting to wonder.”
The curtain fell. I tried. And tried. And tried. But I couldn’t quite do it all. At least not in a way that was pretty and organized. My room, which probably was a more accurate indicator of life, was a mess. And Reba’s immediate reaction was noting that I was a real person. Is that so bad?
She also said later that she was glad that there was a huge mess because she had no idea with all that was going on in my life how that night came together. I’m not sure how it did, either. Life at the time was a blur most days. Days were full and fun and fantastic. But, how it all happened is beyond me. I was daily living a “two fish and five loaves” approach, in awe of how God managed to make that mess into a beautiful mosaic.
But in the midst of that, to know that someone saw through mirrors and was relieved made it all seem a little better. She opened the door and didn’t skip a beat. Reba reminded me that I was a real person. And she liked me more. That made it better.