Wednesday, June 23, 2010

De-Served


I've heard a quote that essentially says "I might have deserved my enemies, but I didn't deserve my friends."

I'm not going to look it up and give you the impression that I knew who said it. The information is out there, I know. But at the moment, it doesn't matter who said it.

Be it Benjamin Franklin, Shakespeare, Jane Austen or Austin Cagle, it is a true statement.

It jumps into the realm of indescribable to talk about friendship. Like love or wonder or hope, it has a ring of magic to it that is only understood, and almost never properly explained.

The only way I have of describing friendship is to say that once I had a friend, I felt unalone in the world. Unalone is not a word, don't bother looking it up. But it is a better choice for my feeling than to say I felt like someone understood me or that I felt that everything would turn out in the end. I do love when friendship makes me feel that I'm understood. But it doesn't, always.

The highest compliment I can stutter is that my friends, my good and lovely friends, make me feel that even when they don't understand or have an answer or even have a cup of coffee to share with me, they are there. Their presence soothes me even from afar. It is a great and wondrous thing to be unalone in the world. If you've ever been alone, you'll understand what I'm saying.

For a few months, Austin, Moira and I stayed with a friend. We were between houses, as I like to say. He gave us a room and my aunt gave us two mattresses and we lived very gratefully in our little room and took turns sleeping in the crack of the two makeshift beds. It was a very, very sad time. Not because I didn't have a home, necessarily, or because I had to work at Old Navy (the horror) but because I didn't have friends. I was between houses, and also between friends. I couldn't deal with the great and consuming feeling of loneliness.

I don't tell you much about these kinds of things, but I prayed every night for friends. I know, you are feeling really sad for me because I was such a sorry loser. But I did. Again and again. Crying all the while, tired of feeling alone.

I've been happily settled with a home and friends for some time now. I've been grateful. But every once in awhile, I realize just how undeserving and lucky I am.

Are you confused because I'm talking about something happy? Lucky you, I've been taking my meds on a (sort of) regular basis.

Just to keep you good and alert, we are now going to talk about enemies.

I have few enemies. I have lots of people that I don't care for, and even more people that annoy the snot right out of my nasal passages. I'm not naturally a nice person. I don't say this with a sneer. I really respect the quality of niceness in other people. It baffles me. The first person that ever shocked me with this gift, Dara Green Shultz, is just......NICE! She's so amazing to be around. She thinks the best of EVERYBODY and doesn't say mean things. Not even about people she doesn't know! I was totally unprepared for someone that didn't say ugly things about how Jessica Simpson can't sing (she was popular at the time) or WHY Scottsdale girls always talk like their hero is Elle Woods.

I'm not nice. I think mean things about people, and I think I'm smarter and could do a better job and my kids are much prettier than theirs. It falls out of my mouth all.the.time. It is a success if I keep it inside. Even with this horrid character trait, I don't have enemies. I don't want people to hurt or feel sad or have ugly shoes. I just want them to go away.

I DO have a few people that I don't ever want to see again. Ever. If God puts then in Heaven, alrighty then. But until that time, I'm juuuuuust dandy thinking that they have chronic halitosis, genital warts and the meanest, stupidest children that ever were made.

I've had people do some pretty horrible things to me, and one day if I run out of things to talk about, I can tell you why I wish them warty. But even so, through all the bad, I could never have been prepared for the good.

How telling it is of my personality that I fully expect someone to tell my secrets, hurt my feelings, and call me fat. I'm shocked when they bring me my favorite tea for no reason. Amazed when they keep my kids yet again while I go to the hospital for something else. Totally blown away when they give me a whole car. Touched (in a good way) when they research my kids' allergies and make meals for us.

Why am I singing their praises? Well, for one, I'm kind of awkward (like a man) about telling people how amazingly wonderful they are. I could write pages and pages and names and stories about not only my very closest friends, but even those whom I'm just getting to know. I've somehow struck a goldmine of the best friends on the planet. (Extraterrestrial friends yet to come)

But mostly, I just needed to say something not nice about myself. Aha! You KNEW I wouldn't be kind for a whole blog.

I admitted to Austin a few nights ago that I have no clue why my friends are....my friends.
I don't cook. I'm really not good with kids as they somehow smell my fear. I don't sew, I don't sell cool stuff, I don't have a closet full of awesome kid clothes to give away. I don't have a clean home full of lovely things for them to enjoy. I don't really...well....do anything. I don't put together really cool thoughtful gifts and drop them off 'just because' and I can't remember the last time I thought to ask someone if they needed me to help them.

I'm not saying this to be self-deprecating. (Unless I have the definition of that word wrong, in which case I guess I might be.) I am saying it because I just want to put it out into the world: I am really, really, so very truly and totally amazed by the goodness of the people that surround me. I'm inspired to be a better friend by the acts both small and large of those whom I am lucky enough to call friend.

So...consider this your awkward greeting card. I've underlined the important parts twice, just so you'll know how much I care.

Hopefully, I'll throw you a baby shower when you finally bring your baby home. I'll cook you a meal that you'll like. I'll give a fabulous toast when you get remarried. I'll stop by 'just because' with that pair of flowered espadrilles you've been eyeing, and I'll call you crying when I cross the marathon finish line. I'll remember that you've always wanted to see the German castle that we can't spell.

Until then, thanks for making me unalone in the world.

I'll never deserve it.

But I am grateful.

8 comments:

ReflectionsByPj said...

You should most definitely work for hallmark, I'm just sayin'!

I LOVE YOU TIFFANY (whatever your middle name is) SCOTT CAGLE!!!

Beatrice Blount said...

QUEBECCA! (and thanks)

Beth McDermott said...

i totally thought my shout out was the part about the toast at the second wedding... til i read the next line. ;) and you are a better friend/person than you credit yourself for. or at least i tell myself that, since i cant help but want to be friends with you, and i would NEVER be attracted to a snarky, dim witted, elle woods loving mean girl. never. ;)

~gina said...

Thank you for being my friend! You and your family are a wonderful addition to our lives!

Dara said...

I don't even know what to say or where to begin. I don't really think of myself as particularly nice, but it's awesome to know that YOU do. Even though we don't live close or talk everyday, I know we can pick up where we left off in the event that we do see each other face to face. I'm not friends with you because of what you do, but rather WHO YOU ARE. Tiffany the Person is all you'll ever need to be for me and the rest of the folks who absolutely adore you. It is an honor and a pleasure to know you. I swear to God, if you don't get some sort of publishing deal in the next few years, there's no justice in the world!

Lori Buck said...

"I don't want people to hurt or feel sad or have ugly shoes. I just want them to go away." I love those lines so much I should make them into a sampler, since I sew and all.

All kidding aside, I love your description and idea of being unalone. You are very blessed to be unalone. I have lots of surface friends and friendly acquaintances, but the only one I know I can truly count on is my babies' daddy, and he's often busy, what with working to keep food in our mouths and a roof over our head and all. So, I can appreciate that feeling of wanting to be unalone.

I honestly think some people just weren't made to have truly good friends, because it seems to be something I've inherited from my mother. It used to make me very sad, but I've gotten old enough and wise enough (or maybe just used to it enough?) to only be a little wistful about it now. Does that make me sound like a total loser? Probably so. Maybe that's my problem ;)

palmahome said...

I'm so honored to call you friend. You are one of the most giving people I've ever known. You constantly inspire me in many ways. I love you.

Antonia (Toni) said...

Tiff, you are beautiful! I can't wait to see where God is taking you.