Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Call from an Old Friend

I picked up my ringing phone and was launched back to high school! Best friends forever, The BeeGees, playing volleyball in her church youth group, cowl neck sweaters and Farrah Fawcett hairdos.

"Shawn! I'm coming to your area! Let's get together and hang out for the afternoon."

And I thought we shouldn't so I told her that we would be like ships passing in the night because I was going to be gone that weekend. And, oh how sad, because we have so much to catch up on!

Catching up was precisely why I didn't want to see her. It all seemed so exhausting. We really don't know each other anymore.

Her life is strange to me. She is married to a pentecostal pastor and they were going to be in town to meet with other church leaders in the community.

We found each other through and in a recent email exchange, she sent me a photo of herself. She is as beautiful as ever. She was standing in front of her fireplace at home wearing a long necklace with a cross. She exchanged her Farrah Fawcett hair style to a length longer than her gown she was wearing.

When I think of her, I think of notes passed between desks in Government class. "I love Dave but Coreen loves him. So I'm going to settle on Kenny. Do you like the song Torn Between Two Lovers. Have you heard it on the radio? KFRC is playing it alot these days. Sounds like me! Ha!"

My mom can drive us to see Grease tomorrow night. Can your mom pick us up? If not, I will ask if Karen's mom can."

We washed our faces with Noxzema and shampooed with Gee-Your-Hair-Smells-Terrific and played the BeeGees, Fleetwood Mac and Peter Frampton on our stereos.

When she moved away with her family out of state, I worried how I would endure another year in school without my best friend. She hugged me and promised to write and I followed the UHaul truck all through town until they reached the onramp to the highway and disappeard into the distance.

I remember feeling so lucky to have her as my friend and I didn't know what I'd do without her.

But now I do. I do without her all the time.

It has been too many years we haven't kept in touch that it's difficult to conjur up the energy now to spend an afternoon with her. Maybe another time. Maybe because she is pentecostal and I am not. Maybe because she knows I was once a missionary, living out of a suitcase living in neighborhoods some cab drivers wouldn't even venture down and doesn't know that was a lifetime ago for me and I no longer go to church.

Maybe I'm just not ready to talk to her about it. Maybe I worry about being judged by her. Maybe because I am still sorting out all the feelings and thoughts surrounding my full time ministry days. Maybe it is all those things. I am just not ready to talk to her about it.

But she will never know that.


danny said...

Wow Shawn! That was an amazing essay on self-awareness, not to mention your amazing ability to conjure up cultural icons from years gone by! Gee-Your-Hair-Smells-Terrific?? hahaha! Who woulda thought of that!
But yeah I can totally understand your hesitation to rekindle or revisit someone from so long ago. I feel that way even on Facebook sometimes, all these blasts from the past. Though I was close to some of these people at one time, decades of separate life experiences is like a vast ocean of distance, and the thought of any reunion after so many years, especially if it's couched in any 'agenda' would seem daunting to me, perceived or not.
But there's always the core person you were friends with in the beginning, that's always there...but yeah it takes time to prepare...

ValGalArt said...

I loved reading this, like a diary from the past and the now! I felt happy that you felt this way, like maybe I am not a bad person for having these feelings too :) Thank you for sharing, you are a really good writer.

doodlegirl said...

hi danny! Who woulda thought of "Gee-Your_Hair-Smells-Terrific" shampoo? Those of us who washed in it everydayl. I loved how the wind blew my hair and that unforgettable floral scent filled the air. It was such a recognizable scent to so many people that most the time I would hear with a wink, "Gee, Shawn, your hair smells terrific!" (Eventually I moved on to something else like Breck). By the way, thanks for your thoughtful words.

Hi ValGal! So nice to see you here! Thank you for enjoying this vulnerable post. And you are NOT a bad person for having these same feelings. Or I hope not, because then that would make me one, too. ;O)

Michele said...

See, Shawn - This is why I love reading your posts. You're so honest.

Time does change many things and some are better left as they were.

Now, on to the time references - KFRC, Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific, Farrah Fawcett hair styles... Yep, those were part of my teen years, too - and way too much of it revolved around my hair.

Thanks for the (once again) thoughtful read.

Kate said...

Read Barbara Taylor's LEAVING CHURCH. A while back you were looking for books to read - that's one!
I've cut so many ties from the early years that I don't even know who I would want to look for these days. Moving on isn't so bad. People have a part in our lives for a time and we should be grateful for just that.
BTW, the big event is coming up soon and I'm swamped - the fabric will be terrific there!

Paula said...

Wow. Great post, Shawn! It really leaves me wanting more (at least to hear what it is your working through). I think I can relate in respect to not wanting to hash out that stuff with past (and present) xian folks). I've been working through stuff for a few years now and have no desire to share the process with anyone (or most anyone). Great that, like Danny said, you know what you feel you can/want to deal with...and when. Good for you. : )

doodlegirl said...

WOW. This has been some time ago when I posted this and y'all responded and I'm so deeply appreciative for this reaction from such a vulnerable post. Thank you. Kate ... Michelle.. Paula.. such a thrill to have you all here in my presence reading.

Thank you. All great comments. I so appreciate each and everyone of you.