Thursday, June 12, 2014

I'm For You

I recently spent the day at the zoo with a pack of wild pre-schoolers and a few hundred opportunities to remember why zoos never live up to the hype. (In the words of a very wise lady, "The zoo always disappoints me.") Basically, the lions were lounging, the tigers were tired, and the lumpy camel was raggedy and aloof.

But the kids.

They were resilient, joyful, racing up to grab a different hand for a while, hanging back to monkey around with whomever happened to be standing next to them.

They weren't disappointed. They were at the zoo, man. With all their people.

There were no lines or boundaries. The person to their left was their automatic BFF and it changed in three-minute increments.

I watched my five-year old worry for his friend who scraped her knees. He talked potty to the little ladies just to hear them giggle. He admired Bentley's mohawk. They all did the same. It didn't matter if their Venn diagrams only overlap by a sliver.  They are for each other, automatically and without reservation or careful consideration. 

This is how I want to live.

While we moseyed around, I thought of all of you.
I thought of you, my reader-friends.
I thought of everyone else.

The truth is, I am for you. 
I have nothing but love for you. I'm rooting for you.

You might be a mom like me. You might watch your friend holding her weeks-old baby and push back the pain of never knowing those early days with your adopted loves. You might think bringing a child from different blood into your heart is risky business. You might give birth to a baby every year for ten years straight. You could be a hippie who labored outside in a stream. Or you scheduled all your C-sections or asked for piggy-backed epidurals. It doesn't matter. I am for you.

Maybe you're a Jesus girl, and sometimes you want to hop the couch like Tom Cruise because you feel the buoyancy of my words bobbing through your veins. But maybe not. Maybe you were told to love Jesus but the older you grew, the more impossible it became to make the dots form a line. You were hurt or shamed or punished or abused by the church, so now your church is a candle burning at ten pm or morning coffee on the deck. Maybe you skip my God posts altogether; you roll your eyes and swear you can't keep coming back here...and then you do anyway, because what can it hurt?  Maybe you left eons ago and never looked back. Truth is, I want you to feel God's rescue and the wild love of Jesus. That's what I pray when I pray for you. But it's not up to me to make it happen. I couldn't if I tried. You and I are sisters and friends, no agendas. I am for you.

You host election-night parties like we used to. You order chicken with garlic sauce and hot-&-sour soup, leaning in to Charles Krauthammer at midnight like he's talking straight to you. Maybe you laughed when I joked all those years ago about having a crush on Rush Limbaugh.*  Or maybe that was the final straw and you unsubscribed. Maybe you live where I do now, somewhere smack dab in the middle of all the mess and the party isn't fun anymore, so you skip it all and watch Scandal instead. I'm for you.

You've made huge mistakes that won't stop tailing you? Me, too.
I don't even see your regrets in the back-light of your radness.

You wear a prayer covering? A hijab? A rosary? A weave? Tell me everything.

You're the head honcho, a feminist, a french-fryer, an artist, a skeptic, a pescatarian, the teacher's pet, a hater? I am for you. (Also, when can we have tea?)

I might not understand the way life looks from your seat on the sofa. If it were twenty years ago, or maybe even five, I would decide things about you without even knowing your first name. But I've grown. I've learned the list of Things I Know is extremely short and partially plagiarized, so talk to me. Listen with me. Let's agree up front that we'll never change our minds. (It takes the pressure off.) Just know I'm for you.

I see your kindness in the smallest ways and the ways that make me cry (often, they overlap by roughly 80%). I see silver in the back of your mouth when you split apart with that riot laugh and it makes me think I might love you forever. I like you in your business suit and you in your pajama-pants-in-public. I eat the cake you bake, read the words you write, watch you from afar, wish I knew you more, and know for sure I have things to learn from you.

I hear the hatred in your voice. I watch your sharp tongue and razor wit shred the differences around you but what I see is a wall or maybe a scar. I see flashes of myself.  I don't care if the feeling isn't mutual - I'm for you. (Sorry about your luck.)

You're up to your bosom in debt? A coupon-clipper? A rabid garage-saler? I'm for you.

You're wildly upper-middle and you like it that way? You buy your make-up at department stores instead of the dingy check-out basket at the Salvation Army? Well, I think you're beautiful and sincere and I want to be your friend for life, especially if you hand down the moisturizer that didn't end up rocking your world like the guy at the counter said.

You wish I'd stop talking about crime and poverty and all that depressing crap? You'd rather think happy thoughts? Me, too, some days.

You wish I'd just focus on Jesus and shut up about dumb fish tacos and pictures of my outfits with my head cropped off? Me, too, some days.

It's okay that we value different things and our philosophies vary. We can still be homies.

You're everything I am.
You're everything I'm not.
I love it this way.

I think you're wonderful.

I am for you.

*We broke up.