At our second meeting of First Place, I was sitting third from the corner. We went around the room, doing the typical 'share who you are in three sentences or less'. I was very deep. "When you're tall you can get away with eating more Butterfinger candybars than the average gal, but I know the truth. This roll of glob greets me every morning when I sit up in bed. It's been around so long I'm considering giving it a name and buying it Christmas gifts. And by the way, I'm married, three kids, four grandkids, blah, blah, blah." We continued around the room. The woman in the corner started to share, then just stopped. Unable to talk, she began to cry. We, being women, stopped too, while she took a deep breath. She told us her husband had died in a car accident last fall, her daughter was critically injured, and she was there because she needed a group of women. She only shared for a few minutes, in sentences broken by long pauses, but by the time she stopped talking the entire room was crying.
Fifteen women sitting in a circle crying.
The leader began to grab boxes of kleenex that had been tucked into the corners of the room, and started passing them around. After we'd all gotten our wits about us again, I noticed the kleenex, because it would have just been tacky to do so before, but Look At Them! Black and white toile instead of a nice lavender with big ole flowers in varying shades of pink, or teddy bears and ducks, or manly stripes of dark blue and burgundy.
I oohed and aahed over them til the leader told me she found them at Walmart, in a set of three, and of course I asked what the other two looked like. She said they were tolerable, but not quite as cute. The next day, when I went grocery shopping, I checked out Kmart. One box of three, the one toile and the other two passable for the guest rooms. Then to our grocery store, and they also had the packages of three. One had two of the black toile, which was like hitting the lottery jackpot of kleenex, so I threw them in my cart. Then I spied, in the back corner of the shelf, two individual boxes of these black toile kleenex, and oh my, to not have to buy the others, which were only tolerable, but just these, of course they went in, adding to the mountain of kleenex growing in the cart.
The checkout clerk didn't say a word about the fact that I was buying something like 99 boxes of kleenex and most of them matched. If they stop making them, I obviously need a lifetime supply, and I think the clerk understood that, in spite of being a male. Yeah, I'm sure he totally got it.
It would be an understatement to say I'm ready for some serious allergies, or the monsoon of colds with post-nasal drip. Or circles of women sitting around talking about their kids heading off to pre-school or college, or their husband who doesn't quite understand them, or when their child, Tunchie, who was four, fell over the balcony, landed on his head and laid there for awhile and she thought she'd lost him, or why they just can't get rid of this ten pound albatross that has been living around their waist for, oh say, twenty-five years. Yep, I'm set.
I'm not completely heartless. I realize there are bigger things in life than what my kleenex boxes look like. I sent a note of encouragement to the woman who is struggling with her profound loss, telling her I would commit to pray for her this week. And the balcony thing - absolutely happened during a Bible study a few years ago. When I heard that Tunchie made it, and it had happened forty-five years ago, well let me just say I felt such immense relief because the woman sharing was well over sixty and I had been sitting there wondering why on earth she had a child so late in life.
Women - deep, tender-hearted, with a God-given need to share, the light and hard and silly and profound things of our lives. I'm set to have them gather in a circle around my living room, with lovely black and white toile boxes of kleenex tucked into the corners. Women who will cry, forty-five years later about when Tunchie fell and landed on his head. So fling the front door open wide, plump the pillows and put on some coffee - I'm all about that kind of gathering. With the right kleenex tucked into the corners of the room, and maybe even a little less of this waistline hanging around like a rude albatross.
posted at 9:47 AM