While Preston and I are on sabbatical for the summer in our letter writing, I thought I would keep up with letters. These, though, are letters with a bit more of my imagined, someday life, and a little bit less of the every day. I wanted to store them up, these daydreams, because even though we should live in the present, there is something to every once in a while glancing out and imagining the horizon.
I’m writing this to you while Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh-Jennings are trying to win their third gold medal in Olympic beach volleyball. This isn’t the same kind of letter that I’ve written on Thursdays before on the blog – to a daughter and a son and a husband I don’t know yet. I’m going to guess that I already know you, or at least I have caught a glimpse of the wonder of you and I wanted to be friends. But this is a letter for the future us, the us of more years and (hopefully) more wisdom and more love.
My guess is that I was shy about it at first. I so often long to share a table and a coffee mug and a long walk with someone but I don’t say anything. I’m afraid that you’ll be overwhelmed by my enthusiasm or think that I’m insane or you’ll tell me that you already have the perfect friends, and you don’t need any more.
But I’m also stubborn, and so I asked you, shy and quiet, for that first coffee and confessed how much I admire you and respect you, and how I was hoping that maybe we could be friends. We laugh now, of course, because you know me as the bold, tripping-and-falling, always has more to think about than she has time to think it girl. You remember the random wine-and-cheese picnics I proposed and my absolute adoration of the public benches by the water in Beverly; I remember marveling that you sat on those same benches with wine and cheese and let me be angry and confused and yet you still pushed me towards the truth.
I haven’t said thank you enough over the years. I haven’t thanked you for the Rilke you snuck into my inbox. I haven’t thanked you for listening to me on the phone when I called in a sobbing mess because I realized that it was over with me and him, and I felt it settle into my gut. I haven’t remembered to marvel at the years that fly by between us, how we stood next to each other during the fierce promises of marriage and the heartaches about children and stuck their finger paintings on each other’s refrigerators.
I’ve spent so much time asking God where my so-called significant other is that I forget to thank Him for you. I’m sorry for all the years of agony I have probably put you through, what with my heart racing around without patience or peace. And you’ve had so much grace for me, my sweet friend. You’ve kept your light on and your porch open. You’ve brewed sweet tea. You’ve let me sit alone in your study when you aren’t using it to try and finish writing something, even if it’s just a grocery list.
You believed in the counseling dream. You believed in the writing dream. You kept those dreams safe for me while I chased other things. I know that you probably wondered when I would just get it, but you only offered an extra hug when it was wrong. And while I know that we’ve had our hard seasons, the traveling back and forth, the letters that are full and empty, the marriages at different times and the aches and pulls of life, I also know that you take care of me.
Years from now, when I find this blog again, or maybe when I’m still here, writing about wild love, I will print this letter and give it to you. I will cry and tell you, as you mix the lemonade and I chop fruit for the salad we’re sharing, that you teach me grace and strength. I will mumble to the blueberries as I slide the paper towards you that in the years of wine and waiting, of promises broken and kept and transcended: you carry my heart.
I love you, friend.