I sent Christmas cards to Dianne and Michele, my best friends in college. Again. I thought about skipping them. I haven't heard from either one in a few years.
The last time I saw Michele was when she had a layover between Minneapolis and Seattle, where she works as an activist for the homeless. We walked from the terminal to a diner within sight of the runways. Mia was a baby and spilled a jar of carrots all over the booth. Did I not show enough understanding of Michele's work? Did I alienate her with my admiration?
The last time I talked to Dianne was the day after her younger brother died. Did I not do enough for her in her grief? I didn't do enough. A card to her sister, an orchid to her parents. I didn't do enough.
I send them cards, I keep sending cards, because I still love them and I want them to know that. I'm acting on a kind of faith, that we are still friends. When there is no blow-up to decisively show you the end of a relationship, when former friends just kind of fade away, the existence of the friendship is entirely your decision. You are friends if you believe it.
Tonight I'm working on the book out of faith too. I'm a little tired from staying up too late last night (Dreamgirls! Worth it!), I'm a little discouraged that I'm still hearing my voice jump into a bellow with the girls even after a week of Randy's patient help with them. So I work on the parts of the book that take less concentration .. organizing and transcribing letters, looking up locations on Mapquest, transcribing the tapes. I'm working on faith that I will be making something today that will be needed and necessary in the project tomorrow. The faith that my work has purpose.
It's the faith that keeps you going when the days with the girls seem full of pointless, aimless play, punctuated with their shoving and screaming matches.
"MINE!" "Nora, give me the horse! Mommy, she said it was hers!" "Girls, no screaming! Separate!"
The faith helps me hold on to the idea that they are learning at every moment right now and my presence, close and reliable, gives them the confidence and peace that makes that learning possible.