On Saturday evening, Ren took me out to dinner for my birthday, which is March 5th. It was an absolutely delightful evening. Ren is what I refer to as one of my five star friends. She is a selfless human being who has endured tragedy in her life and still stands strong to talk about it. She, like many of us, has had her share of struggles, however, she never lets those struggles stand in the way of being there for a friend. Thus, the five star friend reference.
I have always been like Ren. I've always prided myself on being there for people when they need me and for always making time even when it's not the most convenient timing because to the friend who has come to you for help their crisis is the biggest in their world at that moment. I have always been generous with my friends.
It would seem that with so much going on in my life the last several months, I don't feel like I have much to give lately. The K9 thing was like a knife jabbed into my side. Losing my job in December and the subsequent legalities of that which I cannot discuss here are eating at me. The depression and current difficulties in which I find myself firmly planted are new territory for me. I've never not worked. Not to mention that weeding through the collective clutter in my house just seems like a drag right now.
My motivation seems to be suffering and I feel emotionally withdrawn. I find it easy to criticize that which I have not completed in a day rather than recognize that which I have.
I was worse off in this particular area prior to my conversation with Gurustu. Again, if you haven't checked his site, please do so. Even if you just check his daily thoughts, it will help you find peace and clarity in your own life. I would, however, recommend perusing his entire site. It has become my "bible" of sorts and I'm a better person for it.
Anyhoo, with my state of mind lately I've felt really guilty about being on the receiving end of Ren's kindness. Hers, and Pony's, in all honesty. It feels very one-sided and I've had a lot of guilt about how the tables have turned. It isn't I doing the carrying right now. On the contrary, it is I who is being carried by them both.
I've had to work hard to find a level of acceptance with support and generosity from others. I'm not one to ask for help. I'll bear the load silently until things work themselves out. I'm a very proud person. But pride equals ego which should have no place here. Not now.
After dinner Saturday night, Ren and I stopped to have a cocktail in the only lesbian bar in town. It was the same faces having the same conversations in the same smoke-filled venue as always. I hated it so we left and came to my house at which point Ren gave me my birthday presents. These were gifts that she put a lot of thought into. They were gifts that were "me."
She gave me a card that served as a huge reminder... That it is okay to let people do something nice for me because I deserve it.
Inside the card she wrote (sorry Ren, I HAVE to share this):
"Because. Because it's your birthday. Because I like to see you smile. Because that smile is better than sunshine. Because I care. Because you deserve it. Because you mean the world to me. Because you don't expect it. Because as long as I've known you, all I've seen you do is give until you have nothing left for yourself. Because I'm not afraid to let you take from me. Because I'm a freak. Because you should be spoiled now and then. Because I can. Because of that big, beautiful heart of yours. Because you are my friend. Because I love you. Because I know you will ask why."
Which I did.... Ren gave me the most beautiful handmade leather journal I've ever seen. The pages within are made from cotton. In the lower right hand corner she had the name "Starshine" (her nickname for me) stamped into the leather. I was blown away when I opened it. People buy gifts they think their friends will like. This gift felt like a part of my soul was living within its binding and I was blown away.
As I flipped through the journal itself, running my hands across the fibrous pages that will hold the literary parts of the whole, there was an envolope with my name on it. She had driven to Pacific City which is a couple of hours away and gone to the rental agency I use there, and purchased a gift certificate for a weekend at the coast. Attached to the envelope a note that read, "Because I know what being there means to you."
It was at this point the "why did you do this" began. She laughed and pointed to the card. Apparently I'm predictable. It was actually at this moment that I took a deep breath and simply said thank you. I knew at that moment, Ren had knocked down my walls - it truly was okay to receive during a time when I'd otherwise push back. I truly do deserve it once in a while and I am loved.
In all the mixed up craziness that is my life right now, I tend to lose sight of what's real because I get sucked into momentary things that define neither who I am nor my life. I can either sit here and analyze what's gone wrong in the past or I can start saying yes to the right things and rediscover my strength. I learned that from the Guru. He also reminded me that where ever I start is the beginning.
Today it feels like there's no better time than the present.