((The fabulous Gwen Bell started The Best of 2009 Challenge through the month of December)) The first prompt is this: What was your best trip in 2009?
This is mine:
My best trip in 2009 was in January. It was a surprise– a gift I had never expected to receive– and I still marvel at the power of it and the depth of its kindness.
It all started back in December 2008 when a package arrives in the mail. It is a matted print, a photograph of me on one side, leaping in the air happily, the word “eternal” stenciled on the building behind me. On the other side of the print is a letter that I notice is from two of my dearest friends… my curiosity is piqued.
Let me back up by saying that I had been in a really dark place for months. Perhaps you know the kind of place I was in? crying nearly every day, down down down, up against my darkest stuff. I describe last year as being slammed into the pavement, feeling worthless and low, wondering if I was even worth being loved. (I know, I know, it sounds dramatic now) I spent endless months collapsed into myself this way, wondering what was wrong with me, if there was any way to fix all the ways I was broken, if I was even worth the work.
These friends were my lifeline. They reminded me of who I really am. They reminded me of my goodness. They sat on the other end of the phone through countless sobbing sessions. They didn’t roll their eyes and wish I would get over it, but let me tell my stories over and over again, until I was all wrung out. They were endlessly patient.
And then the letter came.
They told me how much they cared about me, all the ways I am a good friend to them, all the ways they love me. My eyes were so full of tears I could barely read the last paragraph explaining the airline ticket enclosed. They had arranged for all of us to rendezvous in New York City for a few days, all expenses paid, a little adventure to celebrate our friendship and to show how much they loved me. I was stunned. Matt, who opened it with me, was grinning. Turns out he was in on it too.
Something deep was healed in me that day. I didn’t even need the trip for that, although the trip was truly wonderful. The real gift was the extraordinary kindness of this act of love and friendship. As we strolled through the streets of New York in January, shopping, taking photos, having scandalous girl talk til all hours of the night, my heart was lifted in brand new ways.
My best trip of 2009 was a journey in friendship and a lesson in the healing power of love.