My dear friend Gigi is getting married tonight. I’m so happy for her. We went to grad school together at Northwestern in Chicago. We even lived together for a short time. And we both lived to tell the tale!
She lives in Baltimore now. I’m in Little Rock. We don’t get to see each other face to face very often. I’ve been in her city for a couple of days in advance of the wedding. It’s been absolutely delightful.
Easter Sunday, the sermon was about second chances and how they come around so often we feel least deserving of them. This week, I’ve had the very surreal experience of living that out.
The last time I was in Baltimore, I was here for a work meeting. Things in my life weren’t very good. I didn’t really like what I was doing professionally, but didn’t know what to do about it. My relationships were under a lot of strain. I was in deep depression, but didn’t know yet how to identify or manage it. I wasn’t making very good choices because I didn’t know what to do about so many things. After I saw Gigi, she was so worried about me.
Four years later, things are so different. Professionally, I’m pursuing my writing diligently, which is very satisfying. I’ve had therapy, and even though depression never goes away, I have much better tools to handle it. My relationships with my immediate family are healthy and strong. I have wonderful friendships that enrich my life.
I came back to the place where I saw how dark things were to be able to see how much lighter they are now. Complete deja vu: I’m even staying at the same hotel, but didn’t realize it until I got here.
I’ve had more second chances than I can count in life. Really more like 238th chances. Or more. It takes a lot of tries for me to get things right. Some things I’m still working on. Some things are finally going pretty well.
Gigi and our other friend from grad school, Robin, told me last night I look better than I ever have. This is particularly funny because I just about had a breakdown before I came out here about how fat I’ve gotten. I don’t look like I want to.
These two don’t hand out empty compliments. They really mean what they say. Physically, I’m not sure I really do look that great. I honestly think they are responding to something much deeper. I am so much more peaceful than I can ever remember being. I think that’s what they’re complimenting, not the hips and whole lotta backside.
I take their words to heart. It makes me feel so good. Partly, because I love to be told I’m pretty. Mostly, because I think it speaks to what a different place my life is in.
Life is funny. God is gracious. I keep getting unearned chances to try something different, which eventually leads to peace. I am so grateful.