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...