Friends · Travel

A Sacred History: The Wingspan Effect

[PART TWO: The idea of “a sacred history” has captured my imagination this month. I’ve found myself internally shining its light on my relationships as wife, friend, mother. Long lasting friendships can be the source of the most sacred of all stories, all unique as a fingerprint. Today I share one such history.]

 “You know, one meets so many people, the years pass and pass, but there are certain times, certain people–They take up room. So much room. I was married to Howard for twenty-eight years and yet he made only a piddling dent in my memory. A little nick. But certain others, they move in and make themselves at home and start flapping their arms in the story you make of your life. They have a wingspan.” The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

Robin and I met at the start of our family building years. Her Alabama drawl, quick laugh and golden retriever spirit drew me in and we became fast friends. Our past stories we shared as fast as we made new ones. As a military spouse, this girl knew how to join a story, making an impressionable flap around. She had developed a unique friend making confidence, born out of necessity and personality. Something in me recognized something in her, a certain Me Too!ness that is the magic sauce of friendship.

She had wingspan. And still does.

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Rarely did we get our combined broods cleaned up all at the same time. Mainly we were busy with days that looked like the second photo, the two of us always behind the camera, mothering the best we could. Our time together in the same town was a too quick blip in history. Off to another state they moved. But when someone takes up residence in the heart, ruffling their feathers and squawking their song, you tend to stay close.

So our families traveled long distances over the years to be together. We talked often on the phone. When together we would pick up where we left off and our stories accumulated. From raising toddlers to teenagers, sharing favorite book titles and recipes, always a little God talk and laughing until we’d wet our pants.

And then one day we sat in a car in a Starbucks parking lot, in a town neither of us lived in and I listened to Robin’s story take a sharp left off a cliff. We had built up a trust over the years that allowed space for her to reveal the darkest of truths. But the truth is hard to tell and hard to hear some times, even in the oldest of friendships.

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It was five years of hell that followed and the details are hers to tell. When the layers of stories are deep and wide with a person, you don’t get to pick and choose what to disclose, otherwise walls are built and things aren’t ever quite the same. We chose truthful bravery with each other in the middle of a messy brokenness, riding close through a terrible season. Because of those choices a darkly dramatic strata has been added to our friendship that reflects redemption and love and the power of truth telling.

Our stories now are different and new, filled with joy and grief all at the same time. I am so thankful we had enough history under our belts to walk in truth, both ways, together. Because now we claim the blessings of a sacred history.

My encouragement is that you look around and identify who your people are with wingspan. Live stories together and before you know it you’ll see your life filled with beautiful and sacred histories.

“Building a sacred history together teaches us to be persistent in doing good, even when we want to do something else.” Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

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