Her eyes sparkle and she’s quick to laugh. She and her mom are funny and love each other greatly. It made me long for such a mom, but I’ll have to settle for trying to be like that. I am SO far from it, though. Her name is Christina Berry, her mom is Sherrie Ashcraft; together they are Ashberry Lane. Mother/daughter authors.

I have to admit that I’m having a hard time writing this for fear that Christina will read this. She’s a published authoress and editor. (I’m going to use the word “authoress” often because I recently read it in a book and I like it. So there!) I’ve only had little girl dreams of writing a book. I think that when I read The Diary of Anne Frank I pretty much decided I could just keep a diary and have a tragic life and then people would read my book.

Was that last sentence too long? Was it a run on sentence? I want to use a semicolon, but I’m still not confident in how to use them so I just use a period instead.

Oh bother. I forgot what I was going to say now.

Oh yes, so Saturday I went to a women’s breakfast at my old church, True Vine. In all the years I went there I only went to maybe 5 of these events. I don’t know why I didn’t go. Oh wait, yes I do, but that’s for a different day. I decided to go this time, though. I missed these women.

Unknown to everyone I have periodically thought of Christina over the past couple of years.

The first time I met her was around October of ’08 at another breakfast at the church. I couldn’t stay because I was taking my wonderful Mandate School girls up to Portland Saturday Market. I don’t remember what I told her, but I did tell her about my husband’s affair and him leaving me. It had only been about 4 months since he had left.

I remember those blue eyes. She looked at me and said, “Oh, I wish I had known you were leaving…” I can’t remember what else she said after that. I only remember those eyes and her giving me her card. I kept it but never used it. I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Should I call her up and say, “Hey, my husband threw me away like trash. What do you have to say about that?”

I did something horrible.

I judged her.

I looked at her and thought that her life was perfect. I thought that she looked at me with pity when in fact, she looked at me with compassion. I was so sensitive and raw back then. I thought I deserved that pain I was experiencing. So, of course I thought that everyone else thought that, too.

I am so sorry. I wish I would’ve realized all this sooner. I would have apologized & asked her forgiveness when I saw her on Saturday, but I had forgotten the pain of that first meeting. I have only come to recognize compassion in the past four months. I think I have probably confused it for pity far too many times to count.

They came back last year, but I didn’t go. This year, though, when I heard they were coming I wanted to go. I felt silly for wanting to go now when I don’t even go to that church. I saw my lovely friend Su in our local Grocery Outlet. I was buying a lovely shade of…well, I’m not sure what it would be called, but I think it’s in the turquoise family. I was slightly embarrassed to be buying more make up. I told Su that I was thinking of going; she encouraged me to do so.

Christina sat at my table again. Maybe she was already sitting there so really, I sat at her table. I babbled on about my life with my kids, I’m sure. I actually don’t remember what I said, but one lady leaned over and patted me saying, “I don’t know how you do it Dar. I couldn’t do it.” I thought, “Um, I’m not doing it. I fail every day. It’s all Jesus.” I think I only replied with the name, “Jesus”.

Sherrie & Christina spoke on love. Christina started off with asking us which of the attributes of love comes easiest to us.

Are you serious?

Patient? Nope.
Kind? Nope.
Not envy? uhhhh
Not boast? Well, I just wanna be a good example…I’m not boasting.
Not proud? Not me, the Pharisees, though. They were a proud group, weren’t they?
Not rude? Oh, puleez!
Not self seeking? Well, if I’m not happy, nobody’s happy.
Not easily angered? They made me angry.
Keeps no record of wrongs? I only remember our very first married fight because it was his fault…
Always protects? I can’t pretend on this one. I can see how I didn’t protect those I love, though this one is easier for me.
Always trusts? In word: yes. In my heart: well, it’s just cautious.
Always hopes? Always a little. Faith like a mustard seed that in all things God will be glorified.
Always perseveres? No.
Never fails? Never ever ever, not even once, does Love fail.

One thing that stuck out to me was the part about keeping no record of wrongs. It’s not just about me keeping a record of wrong done to me, but the wrong I have done others. I have kept a journal since 1986. I have kept most of them, but there are a few that I burned. I burned some of them at a youth group even because I didn’t want to remember my old life. I did keep my very first journal though. Then later I burned one I wrote in highschool because if it were ever found it would cause deep hurt to people I deeply cared about at the time. I have not forgotten the big event, but I have forgotten the details. I have years of my failures written down.

I also scrapbook. The good, happy moments are recorded for all to see. A young Dar with hair cascading down the length of her back sitting on the lap of a young Kelly whose smooth hair came to his chin. I’m wearing leggings with flowers on them & a solid red shirt. We’re laughing and happy. Things start falling apart not long after that.

I have years of hurt and disappointment preserved forever.

BUT…

You know what else is preserved in all those pages?

A great love story. A story that makes all the pain worth it.

A story of Redemption.

I don’t know what the end of the story is, but I think it’ll knock my socks off, if I’m wearing any.

[Written while listening to the music on Ann Voskamp’s blog, A Holy Experience]

 

 

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