It’s all Stephanie’s fault. The journals that is- all of them, piled up in various degrees of instability in various locations throughout my house.
Stephanie is one of those instant forever friend/heart sister people that I don’t really remember meeting for the first time. She was actually my little sister’s friend first (ok they are in their 30s now but still….). At some point she became my friend too and I don’t have time or words to tell you how grateful for her I am. If you know her, you don’t need me to and if you don’t, well- I’m sorry. I can only hope you have a “Stephanie” of your own.
My Steph is brave and honest and kind and hilarious and boy does she love to laugh. She loves Fleetwood Mac and The Cure and has a sweet set of teeth (as opposed to one single tooth) and she hates downward dog as much as I do. She introduced me to Aspen tree shimmers, which in itself is enough of a gift for a lifetime and she is the definition of loyalty.
One of my earliest and most intense memories of Stephanie was of a happy, skinny girl with a Louisiana accent standing in a group of girls in our living room during a sleepover. She was clutching a book that she was frantically writing in in-between jumping on the trampoline and laughing hysterically at something and everything. I saw the words spilling off the pages, and couldn’t help but ask her “What is that”? To which she replied the words that changed my life: “My quote book”. OH. MY. GOSH. I didn’t even have to ask another question, but headed right upstairs to start my very own quote book.
That was more than 20 years ago and I have now lost count of how many quote books aka journals I’ve been through. I’ve recorded words in Mississippi and over half of the other states in the US. I’ve filled books in Europe and South/Central America and most recently in Bali. I may have set a record in Iraq and some of those I’m not quite ready to read again.
But through it all, when I write and read and think of words, I think of Stephanie. It’s our words- spoken and written- that bind our friendship and tie it up in a triple knot that can’t be broken. We’ve written letters and books and bonded over song lyrics (which almost led to a trip to New Orleans to hear Third Eye Blind in the middle of a hurricane). We debated the inflections behind the way Blane told Andy “I love you” at the end of Pretty in Pink for HOURS (seriously, it was a very certain way he said it. He should have won an award for that one line). We’ve skyped while she was in China and I was in the Middle East. We’ve texted, IM’d, emailed, called and face-timed. She lived with us in HI for a few weeks when she needed a space to be silent and she flew to WA within days when I scared and alone and had no words of my own. We’ve laughed, prayed, cried, yelled and been silent together.
We don’t talk every day. Sometimes we don’t talk for weeks, but when we do, there’s no catching up just picking up- talking about everything and nothing until one of us has to go- pulled away by work of some sort, whether it’s wearing camouflage or diapers.
So in honor of Stephanie and the gift she is to me and gave to me, I’m starting a new end-of-month post called:
Words I Wish I Wrote, That I Wrote Down (in my journal). They are from as many varied sources as you can imagine but what they have in common is that for me they were important or meaningful enough to write at a specific minute in my life- to capture the message they had for me then. At the end of each month, I’ll share them with you here, and in doing, will remind myself of the power of words.
For you Steph, I have two words: Cinnamon Street.
September Words I Wish I Wrote that I Wrote Down (in my journal):
I found hope, love, recovery and life in running. In so many ways, it changed my life forever. Christine Casady
Every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character. Oscar Wilde
No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for anyone else. Charles Dickens
Tell the world to wait: when I wake up, my mind is like a dry sponge. What I soak up first will saturate me most deeply. If I don’t want to be consumed with the stresses of my day, I must put the world on hold to soak up what will renew my mind- God’s word. Lisa Terkeurst
Prosperity doesn’t best discover vice, but adversity doth best discover virtue. Francis Bacon
I don’t like people who have neer fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and it isn’t of much value. Life hasn’t revealed its beauty to them. Boris Pasternak
Expect people to be better than they are; it helps them to become better. But don’t be disappointed when they are not; it helps them to keep trying. Merry Browne
My greatest skill has been to want but little. Henry David Thoreau
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. Epictetus
Preferring one another is truly the highest way to live, not just for the health of community but for ourselves. Honestly, it is exhausting maintaining the dissenting view all the time. The anguish gets old. There is actually more pressing kingdom work to engage in than kicking everyone else’s tail constantly. Let the teenagers duke it out in the parking lot behind the Sac ‘N Pac in the glow of their headlights; they’ll settle down in a few years. How about the grownups sit on the porch together and pour some sweet tea? We’re old enough to know no one actually wins those fights. Jen Hatmaker
Live simply, so others may simply live. Mother Teresa
A spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe- a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. Einstein
“What day is it?”
“It’s today” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Poo. AA Milne
I often hear someone say “I am nota real runner.” We are all runners, some just run faster than others. I never met a fake runner. Bart Yasso
Mistakes are the usual bridge between inexperience and wisdom. Phyllis Theroux
Being different means you stand out, which is a good thing in a world where everyone is trying to blend in. Leo Babauta
When you make it easier to be successful, you make it more likely you’ll start. Leo Babauta
Running allows me to set my mind free. Nothing seems impossible, nothing unattainable. Kara Goucher
There can be no joy in living without joy in work. St Thomas Aquinas
The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard. Gaylord Nelson
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one”. C.S. Lewis
Comparison is the thief of joy. Tattoo on Karin Bergquist (singer- Over the Rhine)
Our opinion of people depends less upon what we see in them than upon what they make us see in ourselves. Sarah Grand
We embrace what is given to us- people, spouse, children, forests, city- just as they are given to us, and sit and stare, look and listen until we begin to see and hear the God-dimensions in each gift and engagte with wat God has given, with what He is doing. Eugene Peterson
How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us and keeping that picture (vision) in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and do what really matters most. “Requested Manna”
When people keep telling you that you can’t do a thing, you kind of like to try. Margaret Chase Smith
The weight of carrying the responsibility for someone else’s unwellness is too great for anyone. Better to share the load. Barry Pearman
When you are inside your prayers, you can clearly see the weaving of God, but it is often difficult to explain to an outsider. Paul Miller (A Praying Life)
Running has thrown me into adventures that I would otherwise have missed. Benjamin Cheever
I believe that I’ve become a better person through all this, and that attracts people. People are attracted to the type of person you are. Andre Kajlich, USA paratriathelete of the year
Life isn’t about having it all. You take what you got, enjoy it, and push to see where you can take it. Andre Kajlich, USA paratriathelete of the year
I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody. Bill Cosby
Remember what you practice, you get better at. When you choose to practice self-acceptance, compassion, and kindness toward yourself and others, you’ll cultivate peace, courage and joy. Michelle May
Experience has taught me how important it is to keep going, focusing on running relaxed. Eventually pain passes and flow returns. Frank Shorter
This is the paradox of any creative discipline. The rules that form the framework for expression can become the very prison from which you must escape. Jeff Goins
The best music is essentially there to provide you something to face the world with. Bruce Springsteen
Run in places you love, with people you like. Enjoying your surroundings and training partners will strengthen your commitment to running and bring out the best in you. Deena Kastor
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness. Mark Twain
And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works. Hebrews 10:24