I was given an amazing gift last night.
For the past couple of weeks, I've been spending inordinate amounts of time at coffee shops, mostly for the use of their internet (as ours has been extremely unreliable), but with the added allure of the bottomless cup of coffee. A lot of my job for the church can feel relatively isolated - a ton of communication, but mostly over email - not a lot of actual personal interaction. So being at a coffee shop at least gives me the chance to be around people. The baristas mostly know what I'll order depending on what time I walk in, and how hot it is outside. Several of them know my name, and pieces of my story. This isn't a bad thing. It's kind of a nice small town thing, actually.
But it's still lonely, a little bit, sitting there at my usual table, working, by myself. I'm working 60-65 hours a week this summer, between both of my jobs, so working is pretty much all I do. I know this is neither healthy, nor sustainable. But because of the accident and its associated bills, and because my expenses will go up just as my income goes down when my second job comes to an end in less than two months, I don't have a lot of choice. It's one of those moments in time when this usually independent woman is tempted to sigh and admit that it would be awfully nice if Mr. Darcy showed up right about now. But it seems fairly obvious that he isn't going to, and life goes on and bills must be paid, so off to work - a lot - I go.
Yesterday, halfway thru a day which for various reasons involved frequent and extremely frustrating interruptions to my workflow, leaving me to face yet another evening at a coffee shop, just to finish the things that absolutely had to get done, I received an email from a friend, offering me an alternative place to work that night. So I said yes, and showed up around seven.
To find that he'd made me an "office." Granted, it was a kitchen table and a chair in the middle of a room under construction, but for three and a half hours I was given a space in which to work that was quiet and uninterrupted, a space I felt totally at home in - with a friend nearby who sees what my life is like right now and wanted to do something to help make it better, and did. He even brought me dinner (which I mostly forgot to eat because I was working). And I don't really know how to explain why it mattered so much - I mean, it was just a room and a couple of hours, right? But that space became sacred for those few hours, because of the love and the thoughtfulness behind the gesture. The fact that someone cared enough to do something so simple and practical and kind - something that rescued me from my routine and reoriented me to the truth that as lonely as it feels sometimes, I am not, actually, in this alone - that mattered. A lot. It pretty much made my day, actually.
So thanks, friend. I don't know if you knew how amazing the gift of your time, your thoughtfulness and the use of that space would be - you probably did. I mean, you know everything. But in case you didn't... Thanks for giving me a place to be, for the privilege of calling you my friend, and for making me feel so incredibly cared for. (You're really good at that.)
250 awesome friend points. (You win.)