I actually got invited to Penny and Di's house tonight for dinner and a movie. This is a Big Deal. Those two jealously guard their privacy and space (can't blame `em,) and to date, I'm the only person from the movie theater that's ever been to their place before...and that was when it was under construction in April. So it was really neat seeing how all the modeling and decorating has gone from the last time I saw it, (hey! a LAWN! How novel!) and it was kinda neat to know that I'm the only person from the theater that Penny likes enough to invite over. And it's funny because I can't think of a person in that place that doesn't absolutely adore her.
She actually got treated kind of shabbily when she first came to the theater, some people freaking out over her schedule, (what do you mean you can only work Monday and Tuesday's during the day?!) and she was just going to quit outright...I mean, she's an air traffic controller for Pete's sake, it's not like she really needs the money here!
So, they transferred her to the guest desk and it was decided (unbeknownst to me,) that I would be the one to train her because I perhaps was the one most personable enough to help repair her earlier treatment. Found out it worked. Months and months later she told me I was the only reason she initially decided to stay.
"Well...Jett's really funny and cool. I guess I'll keep this job."
That's a really great feeling, knowing you are the sole reason one of the best employees in the place decided to stick it out.
Came home just in time for my phone to ring.
YAY FOR BJ!!! BJ BJ BJ BJ BJ BJ BJ BJ BJ!!!
BJ right now is probably my dearest friend. I can't imagine him not in my life. We will be 90 years old and still have conversations that can go for hours and hours and hours. I love him dearly and even to say that seems so utterly trite.
We don't talk as much as we used to...something we agree we both need to repair but as always we had a monsterously good conversation. Everything from religion (which is at least a good hour,) to relationships, past and future (another hour,) choices, (again, past and future), silly things, (funny cat stories,) to the new musical of Wicked: the Life & Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.
I feel after talking to him that part of me is healed. He is a friend that truly understands who I am, where I have been and where I want to be and most importantly holds no judgment.
The oft common theme of conversation between he and I is the nature of friendship. What is it exactly? How is a friend different than a lover? One line from his many books and our ruminations on friendship is that friends will always tell the truth. Lovers lie.
We can talk to each other without fear of holding anything back. I can tell him of struggles that I have had, decisions I have made. I can tell him how I feel my soul is healing and all the whys and wherefores. He does not have to agree with them, (and usually doesn't,) but I know he loves me enough that he will listen and be happy that I am happy.
I tell him thoughts and insights I have had in the last few months, lessons relearned. There are stories of my life he has heard before, but he will listen as I tell him of new insights I have gleaned from those experiences.
One of the most pivotal moments in my entire life happened on a lazy August morning in 1993. It was warm and bright and sunny and birds were chirping. I sat crying outside on the south side of the house.
It was the first day of school somewhere in southern California and I was not there. There were a lot of reasons, most of which were that I did not have a lot of green dollars to be able to afford it. I was devastated.
As I sat there crying I gritted aloud to the heavens, "WHY?! Why couldn't I go to art school?!"
and got an audible voice. Seriously. Heard it out loud.
"BECAUSE," it said in a powerfully still voice. "YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO GO ON A MISSION."
Well. I had thought I had wanted to go anyway but that clinched it. This was in August and I was putting my papers in by March.
To make a very long convoluted story short, I served an honorable mission and what with one thing and another four years passed before I finally got to go to art school...and it turned out to be in CANADA. CANADA! THAT was NEVER in my game plan. There were even points in my last year I had to look around and laugh as to how things worked out.
And they didn't just work out, it turned out to be a far far better experience than I could have possibly dreamed up for myself. I didn't get the education I desired, I got the experiences I needed. Despite all that has happened since, with all the career and personal heartbreak, I wouldn't change a thing.
I thought I knew what I had wanted...and I did...but what I got...after submitting myself was so much better.
And during the four years from sitting outside crying...to sitting outside looking around at all the other first years at Sheridan College (IN CANADA?!?!) a lot of amazing things happened.
I looked forward to art school when I was on the mission...but when I was on the mission, I was ON the mission. I worked hard and I worked and served, mind, body and soul. As much as I could surrender, I did and I loved it. I absolutely LOVED it. Those that knew me then might remember I was a bit of a wreck coming home...not wanting to be back.
So...as I told BJ, I have realized that I am back to sitting on the lawn outside crying wondering why I am not living the life I want to live. Weh! How come it's so hard? I want to be working as an animator again? I miss this, I miss that, blah blah blah!
And what I am remembering, relearning...is to sit back and trust in the Lord. Do everything you can (work on your portfolio, learn new programs, make new contacts etc,) but trust in the Lord. I always quip that I am a firm believer that everythign comes out in the wash...but somewhere along the line it became well, a line...and less of a tenant. It is becoming a tenant again.
And also...to enjoy the journey. Rediscover the joy in living. I am enjoying my time at the theater. I am enjoying my job as supervisor. I get to work with a lot of great people and I hope that I am a force for good. I am supposed to be an exemplar...so BE ONE. I get to play mentor to a lot of kids...and it's amazing what a few words will do. There are some of my kids that are getting ready to go to the community college because I encouraged them and told them they were too smart to be working at a movie theater indefinitely. That's amazing...and it feels GOOD.
As for people...I am meeting new people and doing new things. I told BJ...when I went up to Canada, I knew nobody...and continued to know nobody until I opened up and started talking and started doing things. I quit pining for people at home (I was amazed at how homesick I got when I was first up there,) and within 2 weeks I met my two best friends. Sure, it was a really LONG LONG process to get those relationships to those points and boy of boy, have some of them gone really rocky but I continue to value them nonetheless. But now I am looking forward instead of back.
I told him, I am focusing on WHERE I AM...not where I WANT TO BE or where I was. This is the lecture that he and I both gave to Tal when we were in second year. We are not your friends back in Israel, nor will we be...but right now, we are what you have. Use us or lose us.
I tell him where I am spiritually...how I feel I have been on an amazing journey since June...how I got so incredibly LOW that I had to stop and restart. I had to strip EVERYTHING away and figure out, okay, what is REAL.? What do I KNOW?
Take it all away, what do you KNOW...and then the whole building up I have started to do. If anything I feel like my foundation is getting stronger than ever because of this process.
What do I KNOW? I feel like Nephi:
Is there a God?
Is He aware of us?
Does He love us?
Those simple truths...those are powerful truths.
Everything else...everything else to know is just gravy...and fortunately for us, for ME...He has been pretty liberal with the knowledge He has dissiminated to us. I am reading the Book of Mormon now as if it is the first time. I'm in the process of speed reading it...and like the first time I did it...I am closing it every night with my head reeling.
There are a lot of things that I have known...but now I KNOW them again.
And while he remains agnostic, he listens and is happy for my progress.
I have missed him fiercely. I am so glad that he called.