Tuesday, April 17, 2012

We're Not in Kansas Anymore

...but that's where I've been for five action-packed days. I went to visit Maribeth, a.k.a. MB, who you  will recognize, if you've read my book.

Maribeth grew up in Kansas, and when her husband, Alan, was offered a job there, they moved back, after living here for about 10 years. I must say, while I was happy for them, I was sad for myself. Maribeth and I had a deep and rewarding friendship. We laughed hard, prayed together, shared family joys and difficulties, partied, celebrated and supported each other. She was with us throughout Katie's cancer journey, having survived cancer herself. She "got it." No words were needed, but all words were acceptable. A true-blue friend.

The silver lining on the cloud of her moving is the fact that she comes back to Washington often because her (young adult) children still live here. I love to host her in our home, and there is nothing better than sipping morning coffee in your jammies with a friend you haven't seen in months, or staying up late, drinking wine and talking about everything under the sun. I always love it when she visits. When she invited me to come to stay with her in Kansas, I jumped at the opportunity.

Part of the significance of the timing of my visit was the fact that Beth Moore, a Bible teacher who founded Living Proof Ministries, was coming to K.C. to speak and worship. MB has told me about Beth Moore for years, but I never opened one of her books nor visited her website. This was an opportunity to hear her speak, and to be inspired by a new kind of worship experience.

If you are a regular reader here, you will know that I tend toward the contemplative and mystical aspects of Christianity. I have been over the map from Christian Science to Presbyterian to Catholic to Buddhist & Sufi, and I was blessed by all of them at one time or another - and some are still blessing me. What I haven't experienced is Southern Christianity, and this event was a revelation on many levels. I am going to share more about that in the coming days.

Starting at the beginning, I decided to let God "have at me" on this trip. I had had a few unsettling encounters here which I needed to let go, and this trip came at just the right time. I opened myself to whatever God wanted to do with me, "unplugged" from my everyday life, let Gregg take on the responsibilities of home that I shoulder when he is overseas on business, and packed to leave.

As I was waiting at the gate to board the plane, Maribeth texted me with the devastating news that their sweet Lilly (a Boston Terrier, beloved by all) had died. What an awful way for her and Alan to start the day, and to have a guest arrive in the midst of it! But they welcomed me in spite of their grief, and we all showered their baby Boxer, Cissy, with extra love and attention.
I have never had a puppy in my life, and I fell in love with this one.
I miss her!
More to come...


Elizabeth said...

Oh, I've missed you, Karen! I am so happy that you got an entire week away with a good girlfriend -- I can imagine it was fantastic and look forward to hearing more about it. (and you look adorable in your skinny, cuffed jeans -- I'm always envious of your figure!)

Ellen said...

One of my dearest friend's lives in another town and when we get together I feel such support and love. I hate to leave or when she comes here and I see her driving away I just don't want to have her go. She has known me since I was a very young and our mother's were best friends in Selma. So I know what you mean with a dear friend how special times are together.

Your coming was probably the best thing she needed with their beloved passing away. You knew just how to be there for her.

Kay said...

So glad you could make a trip to Kansas! Love the pics...what a cute pup. : ) Looking forward to hearing more about your journey. : )

Busy Bee Suz said...

I have a few friends who resemble your friendship with Maribeth...I get it and I love it.
That puppy? Melting my heart. So glad you took the time to get away. YOU deserve it.

Karen said...

What a blessing to have that friend who gets it. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on "southern Christianity"; that's the one I am more familiar with now. You've always got such good insights and I will look forward to reading your thoughts.

kell said...

Oh that puppy is gorgeous. Can really recommend new puppies although our cats are taking their time getting to know him. So pleased you had such a lovely time in Kansas Karen!