Funny how people come and go throughout a person's life, each one making a significant impact in who that person will someday be and each one representing that season of a person's life. I, like many others, have seen people come and go throughout my own life. Some people leaving warm memories, others who helped carry me through rough times, and even others who, whether intentional or not, wounded me deeply. There have been a handful of people who have made such an impact on my life that they have remained in my life no matter the different paths life has taken us, and they will forever be some of the closest people to me. I'm not talking about family- family will always be there for me no matter what I'm going through. I'm talking about friends. These are the friends that would drop anything to be there for my family, the friends that love me no matter how quirky or obnoxious I get. We go way back, we grew up together, and no matter where life leads us, we will always be connected. These precious few mean the world to me.Seth and I went through several years of uncertainty, hurt, and healing. When we came out of it, we were stronger for it. We had learned much about ourselves and about each other. When we were stationed back on the Cape for the second time, it was met with as much joy as uncertainty. Much of our rough times were spent on the Cape, and there was fear of history repeating itself. However, we had a brighter outlook on life and each other, that we were ready to return to the Cape with a renewed sense of love, spirituality, and family. We returned the church that had sparked a glimmer of hope in our marriage some years back. While our first time on the cape, I had only attended the church for nearly a year by myself, hiding in a friend's shadow, and Seth merely attended a few weeks, it was enough to get us thinking and re-evaluating ourselves. Our time away from the Cape was spent healing, growing, and many bitter-sweet days of being apart (Seth was stationed on a cutter and was often away from home.) Moving back to the cape, not only meant that Seth would be home all the time, but that we could return to the church that accepted not just me for me, but Seth despite the fact that he did not, at the time, want to be a part of any church. Our two years away from the Cape were where we needed to be to grow, and the people that were in our lives were essential to that growth. But, it was time to return to the Cape and immerse ourselves in a community unlike many others I have ever known. We are nearing two years back on the cape, and we have developed and grew so many great- no not great, epic- friendships since moving back. These people have become friends, and mentors to us- both of us. They not only love us for who we are, quirks and all, but they are quirky themselves. We are accepted, flaws and all. They not only know our weaknesses and failures, but they see past them, and love us anyway. They are exemplary of Jesus' love for us, and that makes me love them all the more. Recently, Seth and I were introduced to the world of Steampunk. We were quickly immersed and- dare I say it?- obsessed with this genre that reflected creativity, idealism, and an age of gentry long gone by. All thanks, by the way, to one of our dear friends on the Cape. Seth and I rarely get the opportunity to have a weekend away, and even rarer do we get to get away with our friends- our epic friends. We had such a weekend just over a week ago, when we had the privilege to attend Temple Con in Rhode Island. We all worked hard on our neo-Victorian costumes, inventions, and various toy weaponry and immersed ourselves into a world of geekery where no one casts judgement and everyone shares a common passion for gaming and Steampunk. It was at this convention that Seth and I had come to the conclusion that we never have before been so close to a group of a friends as we are now. And every day I am so blessed and thankful that these people are in my life. And I just know that these are the kinds of friends that will forever be in our lives, not just here for a season, but here for a lifetime. Here are just a few pictures of our time at TempleCon with our very best friends in the 'verse.
So, here it is, the middle of February and it has been awhile since I have written anything here. I've been wracking my brain for something clever or soul-searching to write about, and either I draw blanks or my ideas resemble soap boxes more than thought provoking blog entries. Here I am, once again, trying to figure out what to write about, and it dawns on me: today is Valentine's day. Couples everywhere are behaving sickly sweet and soppy turning the stomachs of single folk everywhere. Consumerism is at an all time high, while boyfriends and husbands rush out willingly paying three times as much for roses and chocolate than they might pay any other day of the year. Girlfriends and wives are planning the perfect romantic evening, hoping that their significant other will notice the hard work it took to make herself drop dead gorgeous or the beautiful gourmet meal that awaits them. This is a yearly ritual that lovers revel in, while cynics and singles secretly hope that food poisoning wreaks havoc on lovers everywhere. Being married to an awesome guy myself, I tend to enjoy the day despite the fact that there have been many Valentine's days we have shared separately, as he is in the coast guard and has often been gone. He never fails to surprise me with flowers, or has them delivered. And yes, I am thrilled that he will be home tonight so we can have a romantic dinner for two at home. So, what's with this day that so many people have a love/hate relationship with? Who was St. Valentine? According to http://www.catholic.org/, he is the patron saint of love, happy marriages, and young people. He was a holy priest and assisted in helping martyrs from being persecuted. Eventually, he was caught and martyred as well after he refused to renounce his faith. He died on February 14th. How he became associated with the holiday of love, might seem odd, but in the effort to discourage non- believers from celebrating their pagan holiday, several zealous pastors began substituting the names of saints on the holiday. Thus, St. Valentine's Day was born. I suppose there are several versions of the story out there, and whatever the truth is, St. Valentine's Day will continue to be a day of consumerism, love stories, and, yes, annoyed singles everywhere. So, as you celebrate today, toast to your sweetie, or to your singleness, and remember that today is not just about loving your family and friends, its also about loving your fellow humanity. St. Valentine died for not just his faith, but also for fighting to save others from unjust deaths. He risked everything because he loved others. As Mother Theresa said, "If you judge people, you have no time to love them." And the Bible tells us to love one another numerous times. 1 Corinthians 13 anyone? Not to mention the other numerous passages on the subject. So, today, Love one another. Love your sweetie, love your children, love your parents, love your friends. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!