Some days I like to peruse ye ole Facebook to see what’s going on in the lives of my friends for one solitary reason. It’s to fulfill this here hashtag challenge I accepted at the first of the year. A challenge that grows ever more important and difficult for me to accomplish.
Difficult because of the nature of writing for and about people I love. As I’ve stated before, I use this time to pound out on the keys in a sort of free writing exercise about a particular individual. Yet, in the midst of that free writing I constantly second guess myself to make sure I’m not writing something similar to what has already been written about someone else.
The work is important because, especially in an election year, the words and opinions on social media are all a flame with us and them and those people and "we got spirit yes we do, we got spirit, how ‘bout you?!?”
It’s important to shine a light on the beauty that is our friendships. It is a challenge I appreciate. It is a challenge I regret taking.
Today is a day when, because of a browsing on Facebook, I came across a friend of mine whom I’ve shared foreign travel. I’ve nearly slid of the side of a mountain whilst in a truck with her. I’ve talked about all things bodily sounds and smells and gross stuff. I’ve sat and debriefed with her about my work at the church and she has graciously sat and listened countless times.
Her name is Lynn Clark and I love her so much. She is like a sister to me. When we get together our love and admiration for one another is most perfectly expressed in sarcasm. I love that about her too.
Lynn and I have known each other for over a decade.
One of my favorite moments with Lynn came in the valley of Jicaral, Oaxaca, Mexico.
We had set up camp for three days in a small village on the border of Oaxaca State and Guerrero State in South Western Mexico. We set up, I might add, in the midst of the rainy season.
After setting up our tents and eating dinner we all gathered in for bed. I decided that first night to sleep under the pavilion on a couple of collapsed tables to be raised off the ground.
The second night was a little different. It had rained most all the second day and something told me it would be raining most of the night too.
Let me back up a little bit. We were in Jicaral to provide medical relief for the people of this remote village. B-T-Dubs, when I say remote… I mean remote. The village had one telephone. One. Telephone.
Back to the rainy second night. I decided to once again forego the use of a tent. This time, I had worked out a deal with the dental team to use one of their chairs to sleep in. And by chair for the dental team I mean a camp chair with the pop out leg rest.
I curled up in my chair and fell to sleep. All the time telling Lynn and others, you may want to consider sleeping up here under the little pavilion cover rather than in the midst of the muddy ground with an all night rain a coming.
About 1AM came the deluge. The strongest sideways rain I’ve ever seen. I awoke and saw tents flying in the wind holding on for all they had with a single tent stake. People were running around trying everything to get into their tents to catch some sleep. Everyone was exhausted and we all knew we had a long day of travel in the morning.
Part of me wanted to get up and help. But I realized very quickly there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. With all the people flailing about working against nature and her chaotic storm I could see my involvement would do nothing to help. So, I went back to sleep. Yep, I sure did.
The next morning was one of those great mornings with feelings of being hungover with nods to one another of the inside jokes. We looked at one another with sleep deprived glances and snickers.
Then someone said to me, “I knew we’d chosen wrong when I looked up and saw Stuart under the pavilion wrapped up in a blanket sleeping and at his feet were the stray dogs. Even the dogs knew enough to get in out the rain.”
Everyone laughed. The exhaustion and frustration of the last couple of days had taken their toll and we still had to make it back to the small town we usually stayed in.
Which brings me to the sliding of a truck down the side of a mountain. We rode in the back of the slowest driven truck in the history of slow driven trucks. Our driver was in now way in a hurry to get anywhere. Also an awkward conversationalist we, Lynn and several others, had a great time in the back seat with comedic inside jokes and commentary. At one point, when the driver should be driving slowly, he took it a bit to quickly. We were looking out the window watching the tires. The one I was watching had about and inch from the edge. The wheel I didn’t see was less than that. Like I said, we almost falled off the cliffs and such.
I’ve shared more adventures with Lynn in the last few years than many. She is always positive and encouraging and I love her for it.
And to prove we are like family enjoy this.