Oh, the comfort -- the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person -- having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.
A Life for a Life, Dinah Craik
English writer, 19th century
I'll just admit it...the older I get, the more time my foot spends in my mouth: my words get twisted up, I can't keep facts straight when I'm talking (the ones I can remember), and sometimes my mouth keeps going even when my brain has decided to take a quick trip elsewhere.
But I'm very blessed - it also seems the older I get, the more faithful hands I find around me willing to guess the true meaning of what I'm trying to say, to overlook obvious mistakes and, if jumping to a conclusion is necessary, they aim for a positive one, believing in me enough to know I wouldn't intentionally say or do something that would cause pain.
This weekend I was surrounded by some of those hands - some new ones and some old ones. Not new and old as in age, but in how long they've known me...how much historical knowledge of me they have on which to base the "sifting of chaff and grain".
Robert and Shari are the new hands - it's only been in the last few months that we've all really become friends - and yet already I experience that "comfort of feeling safe" with them - the feeling that I can just be myself and trust them to sift if necessary, and that they trust us to do the same. Tom and I had such a great time hanging out with them, finally getting a tour of their world, talking, laughing, getting kisses from Tucker (one of their puppies), eating...and eating...and eating. The time just flew - before I knew it, it was time to leave. Literally! One minute we were relaxing on the front porch with hours ahead of us and the next, we were scrambling to gather our things and get on the road, late for my parents' anniversary lunch!
My parents, my family...they are the old hands, the ones who have known me forever, who probably at times wished they didn't, but love me anyway. We all met at the Monument Inn to celebrate the 60th anniversary of my parents' wedding. (Just imagine all the sifting of chaff and grain that they've done over the past 60 years?) Tom and I were thirty minutes late, but my family just sighed, ordered appetizers, and waited for us, greeting us with smiles when we finally arrived (okay, maybe some rolled eyes, too.)
I am blessed with a family that tolerates, forgives, forgets and laughs, and friends who do the same. Thank God for my sifters.