Dave tells me I shouldn’t ever play poker. He says my facial expressions totally give me away. I show my frustration when I encounter people who seem to want to throw hand grenades into a pleasant experience. I express my love for my family and friends and want to hug on everyone I love. If I am excited about the look and smell of a new car, Dave has a hard time striking the best deal because I can hardly contain my joy.
This weekend, I had the joy and privilege of being able to spend time in San Antonio to celebrate my dad’s 85th birthday. My sister, brothers, and I all gathered with our spouses and significant others to spend time together with Daddy. We ate way too much, we laughed enough to get our complete ab workouts for the week, and we simply enjoyed being together. We recognize the years we will be able to do visits such as this are likely limited, so we just made the most of it. We told stories of Daddy’s impact on each of us---his love for and talent in music have left their legacy with each of us, and we are grateful.
Besides visiting with family, Dave and I spent time with some of my friends from yesteryear. We met up with Trish, my best friend from grade school. We not only spent time with Trish and her husband at a delicious Mexican food restaurant, we also got to know three of their little kids. What a treasure it was to see my friend from gradeschool have gradeschool children of her own. We laughed and hugged a bunch and can’t wait for the next trip.
We went to a delicious German restaurant with some of my dearest friends from high school. Tears running down our eyes from laughter simply became the norm over the course of the evening. We talked about what has happened to each one of us in the last 30 or so years, and we talked about how grateful we are to be reconnected. We posed for silly pictures and we told each other how much each mattered.
As Dave and I travel back to Tucson, to our beautiful home and precious pups, we are so grateful for the time we spent. It’s not as though I have ever been reluctant to tell people how I feel, but after dealing with breast cancer this past year and about to have one more reconstructive surgery next month, I am not inclined to hold back my feelings of love and gratitude for those I love.
I wonder why we would ever be reserved in our feelings---perhaps fear of being vulnerable in front of others? What is the worst thing that could happen? People might not feel the same way or return the love? What, though, have we lost? A teacher with whom I once worked retired at the end of the year. At her retirement party, people clapped for her and told her how much she would be missed. After hearing their sentiments, she looked out at the crowd and said, “Why are you telling me these things now? It would have been nice to hear these sentiments while we were working together, not just when I am leaving.” While her words stung and some people expressed their disgust with her negative vibe, I wondered if there wasn’t just a shred of truth to what she said, hurtful as the delivery was. Why do we wait for retirements, goodbyes, funerals, or memorials to tell people how we feel? Why not take the time God has given us and share a loving thought, an expression of gratitude, a token of love for each and every person who touches our lives? What would it really hurt? We might just find it was exactly what the other person needed to hear. One of my dear friends who has gone through breast cancer almost alongside me makes sure she sends me a note or a picture of a sunrise at least once a week. Why? Maybe just a reminder that it is okay to tell people we care.
Just for today, maybe we can share a sentiment of love, gratitude, affection, or appreciation with family and old and new friends.