Remember when you used to play marbles and you finally won that beauty that wasn’t going down without a fight?
Once you had it you never wanted to play it—just in case? You treasured its uniqueness; admired its beauty. My friend Susan is like that. She’s . . . different—in the best way possible. I’m tempted to tuck her into a private pocket of my own safekeeping and hoard her all to myself. I like the way she dresses, her quick wit–tempered with off-the-cuff hilarity and genuine compassion, and most of all, I like her unpretentious integrity—especially in matters of the heart.
I’d like her to be my best kept secret, but, since she’s one of those Plainly Remarkable People I’ve been talking about I relented and decided to share her with the rest of the world.
‘Personable’ comes to mind. I can’t help feeling comfortable with someone who wants to know how I’m really doing, and also what kind of mascara I’m wearing. She knows what it is to soar, and she also knows what it’s like to live in the trenches–and if you find yourself in one, too, she’ll splash a little sunshine on you with her signature smile, a kind word, her unassuming wisdom and a chicken casserole–and you’ll think you’re staying at a five-star comfort Inn.
She’s refreshingly honest, too, a homeschooling mom with an amazing family—but not the ‘Wow, it’s amazing how much better I am than you’ kind of family—a real family, replete with down-in-the-dirt challenges and some satisfying successes, too.
Recently, one of her sons graduated with honours (top marks in Technology) from high school and she celebrated the accomplishment on her wall. If you’re blessed enough to be one of her Facebook friends you’ll get a daily splattering of her sentiments and music pics (usually retro tunes you can’t imagine how you ever got on without) or recipes.
Her youngest son just got a promotion with the Web designer he works for because he was so impressed with his web designs. Not bad for a 16-year-old working hard at getting good grades and battling depression. She also has two grown children from a previous marriage she’s very connected with who have great jobs, and a beautiful young daughter dealing with the daily difficulties of Tourette’s syndrome. When I asked her about the successes in her life she put it this way:
…successes for me, are those things that allow me, firsthand, to see God in action.
Mostly, I’m impressed with the way she’s devoted to being a mom. An unsung pillar of support, striving to stand in a world of walls crumbling and collapsing all around. I’m impressed with her willingness to reach out to others with a kind word or a good deed. And, though she’ll tell you honestly about the struggles she’s facing, she doesn’t brood on them or let them control her. I asked her if there were days she wishes things could be different:
Several years ago I decided to be a Pollyanna. She played this glad game. You know, if life throws you a lemon then make lemonade. It really set in–made a big difference in my home and with people. You smile, they smile. The sun is shining, and you want others to experience its warmth and brightness. On the other hand, some days I need and want others to smile at me and to tell me things are going to get better. I gravitate towards positive people. If that sounds new age forgive me. Saying that, I also want my friends to be able to feel that they can share their trials and hurts with me and not be afraid, and I can do the same.
When I was earnestly seeking direction in my life a few years back, my answer arrived in the form of an unexpected card from Susan, and a note inside with a story that just happened to coincide with the very thing I was going through. No surprise, though, she really does walk to the beat of the One who measures our motives and keeps us instep with his purposes–even though the music might be a dirge, for a season.
Oh—and she also has a very cute dog named ‘Muffy.’
I recently asked Susan if I could interview her for my new blog category, and she graciously accepted. You can read all about it here.