When friendship trumps light…

A room with a view -- even at 3:30 a.m.
A hotel room with a view — early morning in downtown Denver.

Dear Diana,

When I awakened at 3:30 a.m. Colorado time, my first thought was that I was glad you weren’t here. I turned on the light, made some coffee, wrote for awhile, went for a workout, and then came back and got ready for the day. No tiptoeing, no making coffee in the dark, no hiding in the bathroom, no steaming up the bathroom with an early shower and, thus, eliminating it as an office, no having to resort to positioning myself by the tiny crack of light emitting from the slightly ajar bathroom door while I lamented my frugal choice of a laptop with a non-backlit keyboard.

But, then again, I also had no you.

(For the record, I had the same “… early to rise” difficulty when I roomed with Brittany while attending a conference in Texas. Apparently, you both need more beauty sleep than I do. 🙂 Last year, of course,  I referred to myself as an “old fogey” because of my early bird tendencies, so I have long considered myself the one with issues. When rooming alone, however, they are less reprehensible.)

I had flown to Denver — a mere ten hour flying and waiting adventure laced with too much sitting — for a conference on technology transfer (where I also would sit). [Please tell Brittany I did not have to get frisked on this flight — just had my purse confiscated (and then returned when the guard found and removed the water bottle that was in it)  I thought I could take a sealed bottle with me; I am learning TSA rules quite slowly, apparently.] Thankfully, a colleague and I were on the same flights, and so the flying and waiting were less traumatic. (The sitting was not. My back is still complaining.) Knowing I would be staying in a hotel room alone was the light at the end of the traveling tunnel. I could be completely selfish, go to bed when I wanted, snore if I couldn’t help myself, and, more important, turn the lights on without any thought to someone else’s beauty sleep. I knew that the two-hour time difference would come into play for my timely body — hence the 3:30 a.m. awakening.

It was a luxury — traveling for business and having my own room, despite a female colleague also attending. I positioned my long body at a diagonal on the king-sized “heavenly” bed, slept like a rock until 3:30 a.m., and then found I was wide awake. And though you weren’t here, I found myself thinking of you.

  • The drive to Orlando — with you in the driver’s seat, since you claimed I would drive too slow.
  • Our adventures in the mall attached to our hotel, where I — the fair-skinned girl with light brown hair and blue eyes — was completely out of place in a sea of olives, browns, and blacks. You trying to nonchalantly shoot our photo with the mall population in the background to record how foreign this white girl appeared in her native country.
  • The morning I spent in darkness — in part because of the Daylight Savings time change my body refused to embrace and in part because I truly am an old fogey.
  • The time in the accreditation workshop (“accrediTation,” say it correctly now) — lost in a conference of public school system acronyms but surrounded by fellow Christian school employees, so obviously God-ordained to sit with us, who pointed us in the right direction.
  • (Did I ever thank you for joining with me in the accreditation training process?)
  • The laughter, the joy, the sharing of a year well spent teaching and leading the school onward and upwards — in so many ways. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it without you.
  • Our designations as Lucy and Ethel or Ethel and Lucy, depending on the day’s shenanigans.
  • And the cans of Coke we shared before the company began its “Share a Coke with  ___” campaign.

I miss you.

Thank you for being a friend who can share my early mornings (albeit with eyes closed) and not hold it against me.

Trust me, I am happy to travel without sharing a room, and I know that God has led me to my new job and these new friendships exactly at this time. I am getting to know other people and enjoying the process. It is a blessing. But that doesn’t mean I can’t look back with an acute feeling of thankfulness for our friendship — and miss the day-to-day bonding as we shared drop-off duties and office space and the trials and joys of teaching and administrating at school.

Way back in my Girl Scout days, I had painted a plaque for my mother that read: “Make new friends, keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” It hung for years on our walls and its message hangs forever in my heart.

You, my friend, are gold. And just for the record, if I had to choose only between the ability to turn on the light at 3:30 a.m. while on a business trip or spending more time with you, I’d choose you and reside in the dark.

Of course, I’d probably record the experience in a blog post…

And I should probably thank you for not minding that, either.



P.S. Silly photos follow. 🙂

I shot a photo of you as you shot a photo of me. Silly girls!


Ah.... one of the photo attempts at the mall.
Ah…. one of the photo attempts at the mall.
Our final graduation service together…. and our first as administrators. One of our ever-respectful graduates photo bombing and Erin, our fellow administrator, in the middle.
Older graduation photo… before we were administrators, clearly, as we chose not only to sit by each other but also to sit with Brittany (who is behind me) on the stage. We were asking for trouble! 🙂

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