I spent this past weekend in Houston, Texas, with eight of my closest friends. It was a reunion we’d all been looking forward to since last August. Our group spans the US from north to south and almost from east to west. We all have very busy lives, but we make it a point to plan get-togethers with each other as often as we can with at least one large group gathering every year.
This past week marked the four-year anniversary since we first met on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and what did we do to celebrate? We ate–a LOT– we had a few drinks, we failed to escape an escape room, we went to Mass together, we did a little shopping, and we laughed as much as we ate.
But what we did the most was talk.
We talked and talked and talked. And when we ran out of things to say…
Yeah, right. That never happened. Truthfully, we ran out of time to say all that we wanted to say.
We talked about ourselves, the trip where we met, our husbands, our children, our extended families, our jobs, our friends back home and our friends who couldn’t be with us, our hopes and prayers for our children, heartaches we’ve suffered, the direction of our country, childbirth stories, school stories, and everything else that popped into our heads.
What we did not do? We did not judge or belittle or sulk.
We accepted each other’s faults. We looked the other way when we disagreed. We never labeled anyone in the group as lacking or not being good enough or smart enough or young enough or old enough. Sure, there were some pretty tense moments when we found ourselves hurling through space on a shuttle mission with no happy ending in sight, but we laughed and we worked as a team and eventually (with the assistance of the escape room monitor) found our way back to earth.
As Michelle said on Saturday afternoon, as we lazed in the warm Houston sun on her poolside patio, we are a diverse group of women from different backgrounds, with different political points of view, of different ages, and at different stages in life, but we all found common ground. How?
We listen to each other.
We talk to and not at each other.
We pray together.
We look out for one another.
We respect each other.
We trust each other.
We have each other’s backs.
We look for the very best in each other.
We appreciate what we have.
We look for ways to help each other, support each other, encourage each other.
We never, ever wish that one of us would fail at something, at anything.
We all see each one of us as a beautiful human being.
We lift each other up and never knock another down.
And it makes me wonder…
Why can’t everyone, all people everywhere, live like that all the time?
Imagine for just one moment what the world would be like.
Everyone would help one another.
There would be no bullies.
No hurt feelings.
No trying to be better than someone else.
No hiding whom we are.
No hating each other for our differences.
No trying to be smarter, faster, prettier, or better than anyone else.
No trying to be someone you aren’t.
No feeling left out.
No feeling like what you have to say is unimportant.
No being laughed at or teased or made to feel inferior or stupid.
Politics and religion could be discussed in a peaceful, meaningful, productive way.
People could work together for the common good.
Problems could be solved.
Wounds could be healed.
People could be lifted out of spiritual, emotional, or physical poverty.
If our weekend was just a tiny glimpse of what the world could be, then wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone could have a lifetime of what we had for that one weekend? Is it impossible? Something that can only be imagined?
If we can imagine it, we can live it.
Would you like to read more writings like this?
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What I was writing about a year ago this week: Emphatically, Yes.
Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, is based, in part, on her family history and is garnering many five star reviews. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.
Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy is available as a complete set for your Kindle and is also available on audio!
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019).