Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Better Together

As I was looking over the list of margin-carving ideas in Bonnie's book, the suggestion under the header of creativity to do something you'd always wanted to do sparked a dormant desire to paint. Since I don't really have a place to do that in my own home (I don't want to ruin our rental carpet, nor do I want to try to put everything away as soon as Small Persons wake up), I contacted a friend in Fayetteville to see if she'd like to do Painting With A Twist with me the next time I was in town, and went ahead and reserved two seats when she agreed, even though it was going to be a few weeks.

If Painting With A Twist (and its derivatives - I think there are a lot of similar places with different names) is not a familiar concept to you, you spend two hours using the provided paints and brushes and canvas to follow along with the instructor's recommendations for a particular piece of art. Everyone's look different (you can see that my friend followed the directions for her moonlit background, making concentric swirls, while I went a starburst route), but roughly the same, and you leave with a finished thing.

We had a grand time together - and I think that was part of it. I could have gone by myself, but going with a friend and having someone to laugh and confer with, someone who could say Maybe another firefly there? and It looks great - just stop now! lit up the evening far more than just a painting of a moon could.

It's not good to be alone. We're made to function in community, and part of me knows that. That's the part that loves my knitters - the dear group of ladies, knit together by a single common thread and little else, but who are all still happy to see each other. Who pull up a chair and snuggle Tobin and want to know how things are going, as sentiment and story are worked in with the stitches.

One knitting friend-now-sister sweetly came to visit for a few days last month during a busy time - to visit, and to help. As exceptional (in a good way) as Brooklyn and Tobin both are, it was such a relief to be able to run into a store without taking everyone in with me for the sake of three items; to rescue one from whatever predicament they'd gotten into without wondering what the other was up to meanwhile; and to sit up, eating popcorn and watching a movie, while waiting for Tobin to fall asleep, not-by-myself. I didn't exactly ask her to come (she texted to ask how I was doing at a vulnerable moment, and I answered honestly, prompting her to volunteer) and I initially felt guilty over her coming - but it was such a gift.

It's amazing to me how a moment shared is a moment improved - joy becomes more joyous, and sorrow less sorrowful. And it doesn't have be something big - what the giver may perceive as something little can have a huge impact. I tend to tell myself that I don't have time for friendship, but sometimes it doesn't take much.

One of those little things is #fmfpartysnailmail (Five Minute Friday Party Snail Mail). More details can be found here, but in summary it's a group of ladies who write notes of encouragement to each other, arranged so that each person sends one letter each week and receives on letter each week, for a cycle of about two months (it's not a very long commitment, which is nice). It's extraordinary how the right words arrive at the right time - especially when the writer is insecure or apologetic (I've never done this before or I'm so sorry to be sending this late!) God can use even our fumbled, stumbling efforts for His good. A new round is starting soon - whether you love to encourage or need a little encouragement yourself, you should definitely consider joining us!

Beautiful dwelling is seeking the community we're designed for; encouraging and being encouraged by our sisters (and brothers), and discovering the art of companionship.

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