My best friend Jenny came to visit us in July. It was such a wonderful time and one that I will always treasure and therefore intend to remember. Remembering, in fact was a recurring theme in our conversations, particularly how little I seem to remember!! Jenny has more memories stored up from our times together than I do. Or at least this is how it felt to me. She would tell a story which was often followed by me saying, “I really don’t remember that….at all!”. Sigh. Of course there are many, many stories that I DO remember but it seems to me she has me beat on being able to recall our memories together. I haven’t finished my introductory post for this blog in which I will expand on what I want to do in this space, but skipping introductions and cutting to the chase, I want to practice the art of remembering. The art of reflecting, and of listening. Remembering as a habit of recollection yes, but more than that too. I am thinking of it as an art, one that requires perspective, wisdom, patience, time and focus and hard work. As I write I am struck that these are all things a photographer must employ as well and I have often thought how wonderful photography can be used to capture life’s moments in such unique and meaningful ways, ways that help us remember. This is true not only of photography but all art. So, I am devoting this small corner of my life to the art of remembering and listening. Hoping that if I start with a corner it will grow into a room and then perhaps it will become the space that I call home; That stories and writing will be a creative means of a quiet purposefulness taking root in my soul.
Jenny is like family. In fact I told her when she was here, that she was the kind of friend that is better than a sister. I don’t really know what I mean in saying “better than”, just that she is the kind of friend that when we’re together there are no filters, no veneer or pretense, when I am with my friend, I just am. Just like the art of remembering reaches far beyond recollection, my friendship with Jenny reaches far beyond a kindred spirit. We do like the same things, eat the same foods (which for anyone who knows what I am eating these days is quite amazing really), struggle with similar emotions etc. These are similarities I love and I am incredibly thankful for them. But the most treasured part of our friendship, the thing that can’t be replaced is time, a shared history. It’s the years of listening (often over the phone since we’ve only lived in the same city for a total of 3.5 years or so since we became friends 14 years ago), crying, laughing, romping about and exploring cities, coffee shops, pubs & restaraunts together, that add up to a friendship that can never be replaced. The cynical, questioning years. The depressed years. The growing years. The mundane years. And the learning to love and be content years. And the years ahead of us that are yet unnamed and unknown. It is time, this shared history, that has sealed us. It’s the thing that makes me feel bound to her in a way that if Jenny isn’t in my life, it’d be the equivalent of chopping my arm off. Jenny has been with me at my happiest moments, celebrating with me as I graduated from college 12 years after I had initially started (no I am not exaggerating…it really did take me that long to finish a degree), standing as my Maid of Honor at our wedding, being with me as I entered motherhood. And she has been with me at the darkest hours of my life, struggling with doubt, depression, fears and rage and even with me in moments when I wanted my life to end. It is in this that Jenny has taught me about faithfulness. She embodies the light and life that comes only through enduring. And I am deeply indebted to such a blessed gift in my life because I know how rare a thing it is indeed. I know that this is the grace of God.
What will I remember about this last trip Jenny made to Lincoln? I will remember that we did some very typical “Joie and Jenny” things like going to the Oven to enjoy yummy Indian food. The weather was particularly wonderful, providing many a night of soft breezes, despite the fact that it was the end of July and the night we went to The Oven while seated outside, we watched a tide of low clouds billow through the sky and become a downpour of rain that literally swept us to take cover inside. We enjoyed nights on our little porch on the corner of 9th & E drinking wine and talking. We made dinners and lunches sans grains & dairy. And Jenny made the amazing Blackberry Ice Cream that I had been wanting to try! It was delectable!!!
Some of my favorite pictures of Davy Joy are taken by Jenny…
And while she was here this time we even found a really amazing deal for portrait pictures. How wonderful to have a friend to help me pick out outfits and get our little girl all ready for the studio- a task I highly recommend to be done with a friend. We also did some exchanging of gifts as has become our tradition. At some point we stopped mailing birthday and Christmas gifts to each other and started giving them to each other when we saw one another no matter when that might be. A Christmas gift in July? Absolutely. We also spent an entire afternoon in our basement. No, not because it’s a warm and cozy place to hang out, but because it’s a complete disaster and emblem of chaos. And yes, my dear friend helped me begin to reduce the piles of clutter & wipe off cobwebs, supporting my efforts to bring order to the mess below us. And lastly, we prayed. We sat in the car parked in a lot near the airport and asked for God’s grace to be poured out in our lives.
Every time we see each other there is so much joy shared. And every time we say goodbye there is sorrow and the question if our longing to live in the same city someday will ever come to pass. I miss her deeply. I hope that God will grant us geographical closeness this side of heaven. But if He doesn’t, I am grateful beyond words that I have a friend whose faithfulness has transformed my life. And grateful that we share the promise for a day when our geographical boundaries are gone and we can share life together in the day in and day out.