When I first moved to Atlanta, we knew exactly one person here. She managed to secure jobs for both of us. She lived on faith street in an up and coming part of town. She rented the house mostly because she wanted to wake up every day living on faith. She believes in signs. She told me we needed to move to the East side, that we would fit right in there. I told her I would think about it but secretly planned on staying in the part of town our first apartment was in. She was wrong. But I liked the idea of living on Faith and when we were ready to look I searched for houses on Faith street.
She is back in town and those who have known us both in our previous lives are surprised we have struck such a deep friendship. (Both of us are a touch offended by this, wondering what someone must think about me to believe I could not be friends with her.)
She moved back into the town that she claims as home (we have that in common too, our deep love for this city) to finish her dissertation about saving the world through sustainable farming. Now that she is a doctor of saving the world, she is looking for a job, but it isn’t everyday someone is hiring a superhero.
We had the opportunity to hang out on Saturday. She helped me baby wrangle at the Decatur Book Festival. You know you have a solid gold friend when she willingly escorts your shirtless toddler through a busy restaurant to clean up a dirty diaper….and doesn’t even mention to you that there weren’t any wet wipes in the diaper bag.
On our way home the kids fell asleep in the back and we had a heart to heart in the car. “It is just that grace is so heavy sometimes.” She spoke through grateful tears. It is funny how grace works. Her burden feels light in my arms, my burden lifts her spirits. We both cried grateful tired tears, because sometimes this life is hard…..and sometimes it is enough for just one other person to understand.
I’ve been resenting my burden a little bit here recently. I feel like I filled my plate too full, but at the same time with just the things I am called to. I may have taken a tone with God once or twice this weekend. “This is your light burden? What is your heavy one? Sheesh, I feel like I am being crushed under here!” I warned my first period this morning that I was in a foul mood. It was just all too much when you factored in the traffic and the weather and the meeting I was late and how people in this city I love CAN’T FREAKING DRIVE IN THE RAIN!
I checked the schedule because I couldn’t even remember what we were doing. And I am supposed to be in charge. Suddenly it all fell into place. My favorite literary device with my favorite story. It was the full Mrs. Norman experience by the time my principal walked in with his silk tie and his friend in a fancy suit. It turns out an elimination round at the national college speech tournament is better preparation than four years of a teaching program. I had those kids in the palm of my hand (even the ones who insist they are too cool for all of this) and the principal noticed. I got a serious pat on the back at lunch.
These days my family has doubled. We are living on the east side of town. My friend was right, we do belong here. I live on a street with a name that befits all the older black ladies that have become my neighbors. But right now I am living on faith. It is hard sometimes, and sometimes I can’t even manage to put one foot in front of the other without tears. I don’t want to sugar coat my place right now. Not every moment in my life ends with my boss telling me I do a good job. At 3:30 I am still left wondering how in the world I will make it until 10:30 when Christian gets home….
But this is what I am learning, from that friend who is still living on faith (just not the street). One foot in front of the other and the road meets you. Sometimes crying about it with a friend is just what you need. If you share your burdens with the people God gives you…it lightens the load for everyone.