Five Minute Friday: Friend

I’ve always needed one. I haven’t always had one. But God has always provided what I needed when.

Through the different seasons in life… when I didn’t know up from down, saying ‘I do’, holding my first baby and all the moments in between and after.

God has never left me alone.

I think of this season of ‘now’ and how things have changed and the friends that hold me up and carry me through. And I just don’t know what I would do without you.

You talk to me and you listen.

You make me laugh and laugh at me and with me and it’s what rescues this recovering Pharisee.

And even though we are miles apart, you are holding me.

Your words, they bring healing and clarity. How are you so stinkin’ smart? You’ve saved my counselor endless hours and he doesn’t even know it.

Sometimes I feel like I’ll never be able to give back to you what you have given to me and I guess that’s what makes this work.

You encourage my deepest hopes and calm my crazy and point me to the Lover of my Soul.

We don’t hide behind masks or hide our struggles or even the things we disagree on. And sometimes our differences make us wonder if we should even be friends.

But of course we should. Because God knew what we needed; He knew I would need you.

I thank Him often for His prompting that day long ago when you picked up the phone and ignored my distant tone. You didn’t give up. And I will never be the same. This road we walk is far less scary because we have each other.

Friend, I love you.

I Called Him Fat Man

Today I want to write about my brother just a bit.

You see, it’s his birthday tomorrow and birthdays always trigger memories for me. About the person who is having the birthday. And about what they mean to me.

I am trying to get better at writing these down. Maybe one day all my family will have a birthday post… maybe.

I was 3 when Hunter was born. I don’t remember much about that time. What I do remember mostly comes from pictures. So I remember he was fat. Very fat. And we called him Fat Man (as in Bat Man). We’d even sing the “Na na Na na Na na Na na Na na Na na Na na Na na …. Fat Man!” theme song to go with it. He loved it.

We played a lot together growing up. I remember always loving him. We would play Sunday School and line our stuffed animals up and tell them about Jesus. We would sing songs that we made up and record them on cassettes. We would play in the woods – A LOT. We built tree forts and dug deep holes (deep as in 6ft. deep) and played war and swung from rope swings. So much so that I wanted to be a marine when I grew up or a police woman, either one.

When we moved out to Seabrook, we loved the dirt roads and never wore shoes. We crabbed and fished and even almost got stranded in a canoe when our anchor didn’t quite reach the bottom when we stopped to eat a sandwich. We played man hunt with friends and roller bladed and rode bikes and always, played in the woods.

I remember being really scared once. Hunt was around 7 or 8 and he got hit in the head with a baseball bat at baseball practice. I held his glove tight while I waited for him to come home from the hospital. I couldn’t put it down because I was so scared. What would happen if he didn’t come home? But he did.

He scared me another time when he fell from about 30 feet up in a tree when the rope snapped. He landed on his back and the wind was knocked out of him. And the wind was knocked out of me. And then I started screaming and ran to the house to get help and I don’t remember but all I could scream was, “Hunter’s DEAD!!” At least that’s what they tell me. But he wasn’t.

And then he just made me mad when my boyfriend (now husband) would come over to see ME and would end up goofing off with Hunter instead. I loved going to youth group Friday nights because Hunter couldn’t come with us. But then he became old enough and he started coming too.

By then I didn’t mind so much. Because I still just really loved him.

Then I remember he started hanging out with this girl. And I remember feeling so relieved because I just wasn’t sure who he’d end up with. Especially after hearing all of our growing up years that he wanted to get married in his truck and live in the woods. I was a bit worried.

And when I’d try to get him to confess his love for this girl, he would deny it and tell me they were just friends. He was such a liar. I mean, they were just friends, but he really WAS madly in love with her! I knew this for sure when it was her birthday and he asked me what I thought he should get her. He hates buying people presents, I thought. Yep, a dead give-away.

That’s me on the left with my arm raised, we were singing. Hunter comes next (see why I was worried), then there’s Dustin, see why I loved him? And believe it or not, that’s Ames with the short hair, see why he loved her?

And they did get married. But it wasn’t in his truck. And I guess you could say they did live in the woods. So it seems he picked the right one.

But before the woods, he graduated from college. The first Marcy to graduate from college. And I was so proud. I wonder if I every really told him that. I was sad that I wasn’t at his graduation. I remember having to be somewhere else out of town, but I was going to try and make it anyway, and then it started pouring rain and I had a nursing baby and it just didn’t happen. But he had his girl and I knew he didn’t need me.

I remember another moment when I was so proud. We were in Ukraine. It was my first trip there, the trip that captured my heart. We were a team of five and we went to do English camps with college students. Man it was fun. Our last Sunday there we traveled to the town of Litin. We gave our testimonies and then the guys were asked to preach. I remember looking over at Hunter, he was writing on a scrap piece of paper. I quickly realized, he was writing out his sermon. He should have known better, they always ask the guys to preach! He was nervous. And he did his nervous thing, he looked as if he was about to cry. But he wasn’t. That’s just his nervous look. I think I cried a little though. Just a little, as I listened to him preach. Somehow that scrap piece of paper ended up in my Bible and I kept it for a long time. In fact, I think it’s still there.

I’m not sure why this picture is so blurry! But this was us, Ukraine 2006.

And then the woods.

I remember hearing it for the first time. That they were going to leave, him and his girl and that we wouldn’t know where they were. That it was dangerous and he was taking his gun. For 6 long months I wouldn’t see him or know where he was. He would be hiking. The Appalachian Trail. And I was scared again. Kinda like when he got hit in the head. Or fell out of that tree. I’m his big sister, it’s my job to be scared a little. It’s my job.

But it’s my job to be proud too. And I was. So proud. This was so HIM! And I wished I was going too. Like I would have when we were kids.

I remember praying for them in the middle of the night, now nursing another little baby. That he would be safe and would come back home. What if he didn’t come back home? But they did.

And life was normal after that. We had our families and now our little sister had a family of her own. And we had grown up and it was just a little bit weird but so good at the same time.

Then I was hearing the words again. They were leaving again, but this time to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. I was a little upset. Ok a lot upset. I wanted him here. I didn’t want to have to be scared for him anymore. I wanted things to just be normal, safe. I mean who has a brother that hikes two stinkin’ trails for 6 months at a time!!

I guess I do.

yes, he’s wearing a skirt.

I told him I was mad. But of course I waited until the day they left. I know, such good timing. I didn’t even give him a good good-bye hug. I felt hurt. And if I was being honest with myself I would have said that I didn’t want to be left behind again.

A lot of words were spoken. But I remember him saying that we both had that adventurous spirit in us and it was ok for him to go. Just like it’s ok for me to go when God calls me. So I had to let him go. And I did.

So I started to pray. This time it was during the day, no nursing babies this hike. But I wasn’t as scared as I had been before. Because I had let him go. Finally. And if they didn’t come back, it was because God would take them home. And I was strangely at peace with that. But they did come home, I mean to this earth-home. And again, I was so proud.

It’s been 27 years that I’ve been a big sister. Mostly all fun. But some of it has been hard. Loving involves hurting sometimes. You know, like having a heart ache.

So thanks for putting up with this bossy big sister of yours for all these years. I like to think it’s made you into a better man. So, your welcome, Amy!

Another reason why I love this guy –

And another –

Happy Birthday, I love you Buck.