Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sometimes I just have to lean back and marvel. Not eloquently or dramatically, but simply, just a humble act in itself of recognizing the marvels in life. Tonight is definitely one of those times.
For the sake of my readers, I've tried to present the prettiest sides of my days here from their very best angle. Don't get me wrong, I'm completely honest in everything I write... it's just like a photographer works with a situation to catch in it's most ideal moments.
Of course you're all humans. You all live in the real world. And I'm sure you're all award island life is anything but a ideal fantasy. Perfection is something we'd all be fools to expect.
But yesterday and today have been pretty close.
Yesterday afternoon I spent at Stephany's house (a very sweet Canadian girl who was the first to befriend me and the boys here.) We started on light topics... but eventually drifted to the deeper one of love, romance, and the whole dating vs courtship debate. I have never found someone I could relate to so much in that realm as her. It seemed that every experience I brought up, she could empathize perfectly with; every single aspect of her relationships in that way I completely understood. It was incredible. We found so much strength knowing one another had similar high ideals, were facing similar struggles, and had been in similar awkward situations. We ended up talking for three hours over it. I just... I have no words to employ in how much strength and encouragement I drew from those hours.
Around eight o'clock yesterday evening, Stephany and I were picked up by another girl here who had invited us to spend the night. After the drive to her house, I launched into one of the most fun nights I've had in months. We made pizza together (yes, I now believe pizza is better when eaten in the middle of the night), a great, giant, conglomeration of absurd toppings to suit all our cravings (pinapple, red pepper, canadian bacon, key lime, the list could go on...), and enjoyed bits of specialty chocolate while waiting. (Hey, it was girl's night - so incomplete without chocolate!)
While we ate our pizza, we watched an incredible movie - Martian Child. It has immiediately become a personal favorite with me. Not only could I complete relate to the main character's idiosyncrasies, I came away from watching with a fresh perspective on what really matter's in life. One line I loved was when the main character's sister lists all the things he's done in life; things like write a shelf full of novels, run a marathon, become something of a celebrity... and then asks him why on earth he wanted to adopt a child. He responds that it's because he wants to do something "meaningful." I loved that.
The end of the movie found some of us crying (coughs) and all of us talked about it afterward, and the thoughts it impressed on our mind. None of us were really ready to go to bed... and so Bayley (the other girl) hooked up a Wii (my first time to play one!) and we played Mario Cart for a bit. That was a bit of absurd funness; I was absolutely horrid at it, never having played a Wii before... but somehow I managed to win a few games! (And gloated to no end about it... naturally.) Bayley made us something she's dubbed 'Superamazing popcorn!' It was, without doubt, superamazing. I don't think I've ever eaten so much popcorn at one time in my entire life. It was just delicious... buttery, salty, fluffy goodness in a bowl.
Afterwards Bayley and I sang for a bit together, while she played her guitar. We actually sang Stephany to sleep (almost), before both curling up ourselves on their couch. I slept one of the most delicious sleeps I've ever had - until ten o'clock the next morning! Her parents very graciously had been tiptoing around us all morning. We had a quick snack of a breakfast, got fixed up, and then Bayley requested that I play for them a bit on her violin.
Turns out she really didn't need to persuade me all that much; she owns a Stradivarius copy! My fingers tingled for hours after holding that hallowed instrument. I played on it for an hour or so... feeling pretty unworthy the whole time. Bayley joked that I was beaming like I'd fallen in love.
And then, they tore me away from the music, and we spent some very fun hours in Bayley's gorgeous backyard... endless amounts on entertainment there. Leaves, a tire swing, a wall, a dog, and lots of laughter. We played without being held back by social status or reputation or pride... it was amazing to be with friends who don't care for such things. (The only other friend I have with such ready abandon is my very best friend, who you all should know about by now.)
We were all a bit sweaty when coming in, but by that time we'd decided to spend the rest of the afternoon at Stephany's house, so we cleaned up, and her dad came and picked us up and drove us there. One could easily recognize how much Stephany enjoyed playing hostess, she immiediately assumed the role with ease as soon as we entered the door; making us lunch, playing us some beautiful background music.
Afterwards we decided to watch a movie (since it had started raining) which I had never seen before. (Stephany was appalled, since it's her favorite movie.) We snuggled on the couch together and watched The Day After Tomorrow which turned out to be one of the most intense movies I've ever sat through, but I enjoyed it a great deal. Once it was over we had 'Tea'; a custom that is pretty acceptable here since this island is a part of British territory. I almost keeled over from happiness when I found out that Stephany had bought me chai (for those who might not know me as well, chai tea is one of those rare inanimate things which has a strange power to make me perfectly happy even on the most miserable of days.) She insisted I take cream in it - which turned out to be more delicious than I'd ever mentioned. So while sipping chai tea, enjoying cookies, they quizzed me on American life and how it differed from theirs. I hated to let down their picturesque idea's... but I think in the end they were secretly pleased at how high my opinion of Cayman culture is.
The rest of our time together was spent doing very girlish things; painting nails, playing piano, taking pictures. I've never really had 'girl' friends in that sense, beside my sisters. I mean, being friends with girls who enjoy doing specific girl things. I seem to be surrounded more by guys my own age in Texas, some of them very good friends, but hardly persons to indulge in my feminine need for tea times, opera, and conversations about vanity and beauty. The girl friends I do have are perfect for my tom boyish side (growing up in Texas rather does that to one) but... I don't know. And the only girl who shares my mixture of girl and tomboy, Heather, The Best Friend, sadly lives too far off to really enjoy it a lot with her.This was something completely different. Very, very I girl. And I can't believe how utterly I enjoyed it!
Since it was still raining when I decided to walk home, Stephany insisted on walking with me, holding an umbrella over my head. We parted with a tight hug, and I realized with a sinking feeling that once I leave, I may never see her again in my life. But, despite this, I wouldn't have traded knowing her for anything.
And now I ponder, now I marvel. Why would God give me such a lovely friendship, such moments spent just completely in good, healthy fun? What have I possibly done to deserve this? I came to Cayman expecting to help my sister, to be with my nephews, to be a servant to my family in love. All of these things I've done... and yet with every hour I give, it seems God just gives it to me back, more wonderfully than I could have ever imagine.
Sure, sometimes it gets a bit wearisome helping potty train Wesley, I don't always have the best attitude cleaning up his accidents. Sometimes I find myself complaining about the lack of personal space, the sleepless nights on the couch waiting for Hunter to retire. There are complete days where I go without one truly loving or encouraging word to my family, days when I focus so completely on myself I fail to see any of the beauty of life. So why does God completely bless me? I draw the conclusion that others have come to through the ages; that God's love is a marvelous, unexplainable, mysterious wonder and marvel in itself.
And there I leave it. Undeserving though I am, God showers me with blessings on every side. What a marvel.