Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mountaintop weekend

We just returned from an adults-only beach weekend with close friends, and I'm having a hard time coming back to earth.
Mike eating his favorite Japanese food,
Friday night we dropped the three boys with my sainted parents and headed to the grocery store to stock up on food for the weekend. As we arrived at Fred Meyer, I said to Mike, "When was the last time we went grocery shopping together, alone?" We could not remember the last time we had done must have been before kids, nearly 17 years ago. Is that even possible? Then we went out to dinner for Japanese food and realized we hadn't been out to dinner since our anniversary overnight a month ago.

Then our friends arrived and we left for the Oregon Coast, four folks ranging from 48 to 50 on a road trip over the mountains. We played "name that '80s tune" on the way, as you can only do with friends nearly exactly your age. When we arrived at my parents' lovely beach house in Rockaway, Oregon, we drank McMenamin's lovely Monkey Puzzle whiskey and chatted until after midnight before retreating to bed.

Saturday was more of the same--lounging around chatting, walking on the beach, more lounging on the beautiful jetty in the sunshine, eating, drinking, and soaking up wonderful friendship of nearly 17+ years enriched with heartbreaks, health issues, infertility, and pain, as well as countless joys, music, and laughter. We had a campfire on the beach last night with s'mores made with good-quality dark chocolate, followed by more great conversation, sharing, and intimacy, and today was a bit more of the same.

We returned home today and I am feeling so incredibly, deeply blessed that I have such amazing fact, many of them! As an extrovert (although a bit of a shy one), I thrive on such contact and deep friendship. And I felt a bit of a letdown to come back to my daily life. It didn't help that Mike went off to his writer's group and I was on my own with the two younger kids, who were arguing a bit as I took them out for pizza. All three of the kids were thrilled to see me, though, and seemed a bit sad to hear that we had such a great weekend without them!

I remember when I was a young person and I would come home from summer camp or Youth Encounter (a weekend program sponsored by the Episcopal church, but run by young people themselves), and it would take me awhile to decompress and adjust to my regular life. I noticed that when Chris came back from the church mission trip at the Yakama Nation a little over a week ago, he seemed to have the same kind of reaction. That's how I feel tonight.

As a young person, this feeling would always remind me of that Amy Grant song, "Mountaintop," even though my theology and beliefs have changed so much since then..but some of the lyrics can still apply to how I'm feeling: "And I'd love to live on a mountain top, 'cause I love to feel my spirit soar...but I've got to come down from the mountain top to the people in the valley below."

Throughout this last month, in the preparation for my ear surgery and during my recovery, I have been looking forward to this weekend with our incredible friends. It sped through in what felt like a few moments--that's my only regret--but it was everything I hoped for and more. What I will savor is the deep belly laughter, sharing of pain, and holy friendship. Tomorrow it's back to work for me, after I have an appointment with my ear surgeon first thing in the morning for my post-op checkup. Down off the mountaintop, but I will savor the memories of the weekend and anticipate more mountaintop moments in the months and years to come...they sustain me, as do my wonderful friends. Feeling so grateful and blessed!

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