My friend picks the green body and the green head. I choose the blue one. My 4-year-old son Evan picks red.
We’re playing Cooties—with Evan’s house rules. We don’t know where the dice are. So, we take turns picking out eyes, and tongues and feet to put on our plastic Cootie toys. My friend hasn’t ever seen this American game and her eyes clear with slow realization of the goal as we create the Cootie creatures.
Over the years, my friend and I have taken turns learning and teaching, sharing and listening. This time, it’s her turn to share her struggles. We sit close—on my floor around the coffee table. She talks about the hard things in her life, the pieces that don’t seem to fit right now.
Renea soon wakes up from her nap and joins us, scattering legs and eyes and heads. She grabs my Cootie, ripping it apart. But it doesn’t matter. I feel complete doing this.
This is me—the most me. The me that most fits. Being a friend. Having a friend. Listening to life, crowded around a coffee table.
I have waffled back and forth between watching the other MAF women here doing their thing, and feeling amazed and sometimes envious. They make their thing look so easy. Caring for the sick. Opening their home up to overnight guests at the drop of a hat. Teaching their kids in their home. Creating a fun neighborhood kids’ club out of songs and letters and books. Cooking anything from scratch with limited ingredients, and still making it look like it came out of a magazine.
Why can’t I do that? Why didn’t I think of that? Why didn’t I see that need and respond?
It’s only as I’ve come to understand my own calling—this calling of friendship—that I’ve watched the pieces of my life come together.
I’m not exactly sure how it works. Do we gravitate toward the thing we most wanted? Or did Someone prod us along, letting the hard things happen because He knew something better could come from it?
If you’ve been reading my series on callings, you know my story. The one where I was always the new girl, always the outsider, working really, really hard to belong to a place, to be accepted by friends. In many ways, I’ve come a long way since those days. Thankful for the lessons I’ve learned, for the open-to-relationship adult that lonely little girl became.
And other times, it’s still hard. I still wonder if I matter. If I exist. If I’ll stop existing when I leave a place. If anyone will remember me when I’m gone.
Or when I’m still here.
If my heart will always be a bit broken, in pieces.
My friend and I pick up the Cootie parts that Renea has scattered. Evan is mad at his sister for messing it all up. But it doesn’t take long before my friend, Evan and I have created new Cooties from the mess.
And I hope my calling will create beauty from the brokenness.
photo credit, designsbykari