On Friday night, David and I went to an art gallery opening at Ripon College, hoping to meet up with some new friends, acquaintances, and other more distant, grown-up-world-type people connections. There was a party afterwards thrown by one of Ripon’s faculty members, and so we went there to continue our evening and follow the “make new friends” imperative in the old Girl Scout song.
As I had written earlier, it had been a rough week, and so it was wonderful to feel like real people, social people, people who know people. With each new introduction and every little laugh, I could feel the haze of uncertainty lifting, if only for a little while. Just as the applause that kept Tinkerbell alive, with every friendly interaction the haze thinned even more and was replaced with the happy, smiling faces of people who are becoming our friends, whose paths we might cross for more years than either of us was in school. As we got home at the end of the evening, David and I were exhausted–and exhilarated. What a fantastic night, and a wonderful start to the weekend!
We came into the house to two packages that had arrived that day addressed to the two of us. Soon we were surrounded by beautiful gifts from friends out East–hand-knit pillow covers, a mug from BU, homemade pins, a homemade prayer shawl, Vermont maple syrup, a gorgeous Austrian table runner, myriad hand-knit dishcloths (sensing a theme? So many talented friends!), and, most meaningfully, an onslaught of cards from each of these friends filled with jokes, hymns (yes, hymns! and jokes about atonement theology! Oh, seminarians.), and love. Our STH friends had enveloped us in a long-distance hug.
And as we sat there, exhausted from a fabulous night with new friends and surrounded by reminders of old (as a recent article said, “not a reference to age, as much as vintage”), the phrase that kept going through my head was one from the first sermon I preached–the one that, by some recollections, was the start of my and David’s life together: “deeply, perfectly, endlessly loved.”
We are, and we’re grateful.