I've always found it odd what a fine line exists between laughing hysterically and sobbing uncontrollably. When I'm doubled over in a wheezing belly laugh, tears are typically streaming down my cheeks. Likewise, when painful, salty, fat tears are flowing, I find myself oddly close to collapsing into hysterical laughter. Perhaps this stems back to my childhood when I would get hurt and go to my dad for comfort who would, without exception, make a joke that would have me giggling against my will. He showed little sympathy when we got hurt- when I got hit by a car, he scolded me for ruining my mom's bike.
Whatever the reason, I've also found this line between laughing and crying to be a very fine one when I'm with my Iron Well girls. Yes, we named ourselves. And yes, we have matching t-shirts. Don't hate.
These six girls were hand-picked for me. Truthfully, I might not have picked them on my own to be my "life-long friends." I might have picked girls who were more like me. However, I think that's one of the beautiful aspects of our friendship- God brought us together with all our unique quirks and perspectives to form a pretty incredible group. We're all a bit goofy, we all love the Lord, and we all care about our friendship. Care so much that we won't let it dwindle despite living in different states and cities and experiencing different walks of life. We met at Westmont; were randomly selected to live in 3 dorm rooms in the same section of Page; were the last girls in the cafeteria one Friday night and decided then and there to be friends. Only God knew what type of bond would be formed as 7 freshmen girls decided to meet and pray together. We met all over campus but often times ended up on one girls' bed. (One night we were on my top bunk and Jenny kindly pointed out that I had been wiping my boogers on the ceiling. I knew they'd be life-long friends when they just laughed and didn't judge me. In my defense, who wants to climb off the top bunk to get a tissue? Not me. At least I wasn't eating them.) Here we are at age 18 and the following year as sophomores at age 19.
Now, ten years after that first meeting, 5 marriages later, 3 babies later, several moves and new jobs later, we still meet and pray together. Once a year. For one weekend we get together and remember what a glorious gift we've been given: each other. This year we met in Palm Springs and though we swam, hiked, picnicked, got pedicures, saw a movie, played games, and ate, what I will remember most is the laughter and the tears. There was an abundance of both.
You can't do this with just anybody. You can't laugh so hard you roll on the ground watching someone drool during chubby bunny if you're just acquaintances. You can't cry so hard that when you try to speak, it sounds like you've been sucking helium if you hardly know the person. Laughter and tears require trust. You have to let go of inhibitions and not care what your face looks like or how you sound because you trust that the others won't care either. I love this. I love how I can laugh and cry with these girls without inhibitions. I love watching them laugh and cry- even if it is in the middle of a restaurant.
We tend to cause a bit of a scene whenever we're in public- maybe it's because there's 7 of us or because we're usually laughing and loud; maybe it's because 3 are currently pregnant or because of the matching attire; or maybe it's because we're a little weird and take pictures like this:
and like to come up with creative poses like these:
The first scene we caused was in a bathroom at a public elementary school in LA. Jenny, Amy and I were waiting for the rest of the girls to fly into LAX and took a walk in a nearby neighborhood. Both girls are preggers so with heavy bladders, we searched for a bathroom and found a school. A heavily locked school. Giant locks were at each entrance save for one which I convinced the girls to slip through. We cautiously searched for the bathrooms while attempting to walk with confidence so we wouldn't be stopped for trespassing. When we finally found the little girls' room, we slipped in only to find three very surprised 5 year old girls with huge eyes gaping up at us, jaws dropped, exclaiming, "Whoa!" simultaneously. I'm not sure if it was our height, skin color, or matching shirts that made them gasp but in true kid fashion they blurted out, "What are YOU doing here?" The preggos darted for the miniature toilets while I explained that we are kids too and it was totally normal for us to be there. Their logic was comical.
girl: "You're not a kid."
me: "Am too."
girl: "No you're not. Look in the mirror."
me: turn to face the mirror and see only my stomach. "Okay, you make a good point."
girl: comes behind me and grabs both my wrists pretending to cuff them, "You're under arrest. You're coming with me."
All three girls proceeded to grab my wrists, yelling "you're busted!" and pulling me towards the door. I was getting worried about the adults outside seeing me dragged out so I tried to divert their attention by tickling them. In hindsight, that would have looked pretty sketchy too. Luckily, at this moment Jenny emerged and dropped her bracelet which the girls found hilarious.
Next scene: LAX. Jenny, Amy and I snuck up on unsuspecting Lesley at baggage claim. Lesley tells the story here. Scaring people is one of my favorite past times and scaring in public is only better. We got quite a few stares and got more a few moments later when we battled against the obnoxious LAX security. You're not allowed to park when picking up people on the curb- even if they are your closest friends and you haven't seen them in a long time. This little rule and this little man with a badge didn't stop us from piling out of cars to hug our dear friends. He flashed his light at us and yelled but that only made me more irritated and more passive aggressive. I dragged my feet and slowly trudged to the car, took forever to put on my seat belt, eventually turned on my blinker and toyed with this poor man, pretending to leave and then driving so slowly he actually stopped traffic so I could change lanes and leave his sacred curb. Not my most Christ-like moment but geesh, can't a girl hug her friends?
Next scene: tiny, quiet Thai restaurant suddenly invaded by 7 tall, loud, hungry girls.
Next scene: on the tram climbing thousands of feet to the top of the mountain. It's not called "360 degrees of WOW" for nothin. We laughed and squealed the whole way to the top.
Next scene: Tears of laughter and joy mingled as we scarfed down delicious Mexican food. Don't believe we scarfed? When the waiter saw how quickly our chips were gone he said, "Aye yie yie" and quickly refilled our baskets.
Next scene: Chinese fire drill. Hadn't done one of these in years but when Jenny suggested it, who could turn that down?
Last scene: goodbye hugs at LAX. Luckily we get to reconvene in the spring for Lori's wedding where there inevitably will be lots more laughter and tears of joy. Can't wait!