Sometimes new friends can be surprising in that they know what we need more than old friends do.
As was the case on Saturday morning with my new friend, Roz.
Roz is someone I met on assignment at the really lovely place I used to work by the Boat Harbour in South Perth. I liked Roz right away. She shared an office with Judith (another really great friend) and whenever I went into their office, I felt like I could breathe, be myself and was always in great company.
Since leaving that lovely work place, Roz, Jude and I have kept in contact. Roz has proven to be a source of wisdom and I’m so thankful I can ‘bounce things around’ with Roz and get a level-headed, well thought out response from her every time.
After being fired last Monday, my confidence has plummeted. I’ve been finding the rest of the week really tough and even as I blog to you this morning…I’m struggling to get started on my day and it’s almost 10:00am.
towards the end of last week, Roz texted “I’d like to kidnap you on Saturday morning – will you be free?”
Depression screamed out “No I wont! I dont want to see anybody…ever again“
Politeness texted back “I have to study, sorry – maybe next weekend?”
Roz replied “sure…or in the week, whatever suits you. The whole kidnapping will only take 90 minutes you know”
“Then let’s stick with Saturday” I texted back “See you in the morning?”
“I’ll be there at 9:30am” Roz’s happy reply.
But at 7:00am (Aargh! Why do I always wake so early on the few days I have for sleeping in???) I was wide awake…and worried.
I didn’t know where Roz was going to take me and honestly? I just felt empty. I didn’t have anything to ‘give’. I didn’t want to listen or console or even care. I just wanted to stay in bed and didn’t want to get up, get dressed and go out.
As every hour ticked by…I felt more and more worried. I picked up my phone half a dozen times with the intent of calling it off.
Somehow, I found the strength to leave things as they are.
Roz texted at 9:00am “Hey, just to let you know a little of what this morning holds, I’m wearing trackie dacks (Australian for tracksuit bottoms which made me smile because Roz is South African but is picking up Aussie sayings really quickly, bless her), a jumper and sneakers”
Were we going jogging or hiking?
My personal panic level rose up a few notches.
No no no. I don’t want this.
I looked down at my cotton pyjamas. I texted back “Okay. I’ll wear leggings, a jumper and sneakers, too”
I actually wanted to text “no to all this. I’ll be the crying girl in bed for the rest of the day. Thank you anyway”
But I got changed and straightened my hair.
After 5 more minutes of worry and depression-fueled panic, I texted: “Roz…I’m dead unhappy. I’m not well in myself. I’m not up for anything huge ok?”
And instantly got the reassuring reply “The only huge thing about today will be the hug I give you”
My panic decreased a few notches.
Roz arrived and tapped on my door with authority. She’s only little and has a cute, friendly face, beaming blue eyes and a wonderful mischevious smile. It made me smile to see her happy face and once I stepped outside, I discovered a gorgeous Perth winter’s day waiting for us. It was so sunny, bright and beautiful…it made me catch my breath.
As promised, the first thing Roz did…was hug me…tight…and for as long as I wanted to be embraced.
I didn’t realise how much I needed a hug until I was in one.
“So…” I asked, cautiously “What’s the plan for today?”
Again, Roz beamed her lovely smile at me “We’re going to Fremantle. We’ll pick up a fatty, deep-fried breakfast, a hot chocolate for you and a nice strong coffee for me…then we’ll sit on the beach for 25 minutes. We wont talk. I don’t require anything from you. You can relax, breathe, listen to the waves, enjoy the view. Then, I’ll drive you home. Just that. Nothing else”
That sounded perfect.
Roz put her arm around me and chatted gaily as we walked to her boyfriend’s kick-ass, gorgeous white 4WD white truck. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it.
We are both quite short and the image would have made me giggle if I was happier – two little ladies in a huge, “Blokey” white truck.
The drive to Fremantle was my favourite part. I remembered how comforting I find long car drives. No matter how depressed I am, I will never turn down a ride in a car. I love the gentle sway of the car’s motion. I love the feel of the road under the tires. Most of all, I love the movie-type scenery that flashes beautifully across every window. I love that I’m safe and enclosed – but moving forward without any effort required from me.
“So how’s work going?” I ventured, politely.
“Nuh-uh” Roz countered “you don’t have to ask how I am. You don’t have to talk at all if you don’t want to. I know how sh*t you feel right now so I don’t expect you to be caring or polite…you don’t have to engage in conversation at all if you don’t want to, I totally get it”
Are you for real? Who are you? You’re amazing. You’re thoughtful and profound…and just the friend I need today. Wow.
Right then and there I wanted to make a tiny clone of Roz…maybe make 10 of them…because I was so pleasantly surprised and impressed that I wanted more people like Roz in this crazy world of mine.
I’ve never had anyone offer me exactly what I needed and wanted before.
Instead, Roz turned up the radio and we both sang along to the latest songs. Roz danced in her seat. That made me smile.
Then I felt angry with myself. “You’re depressed, you idiot. Don’t smile“
I bit my lip instead.
We arrived at Fremantle and Roz lifted a warm, rainbow-striped blanket from the back seat.
It was beautiful.
“This is our picnic blanket” Roz explained. She added “I made this. I make ‘happiness blankets’ for good friends and as I’m sewing or fraying the edges, I think happy thoughts for and about the person I’m making this for…I’m thinking of making you one, Janet”
Oh Roz…what a beautiful soul you have.
We entered the Fremantle markets and immediately, I felt better. So many gorgeous aromas of different foods cooking away. I looked above and saw beautiful lanterns in every colour and shape dangling gently. Spanish people were preparing paella (which I love!) while others were displaying gorgeous cupcakes. I followed Roz to a richly scented coffee stall “I’ll get a coffee and a hot chocolate, please” she ordered with authority.
I immediately wished I could do the same and was suddenly aware of how frail I felt.
I reached into my handbag for my purse but Roz stopped me gently “No no – this one’s on me”
Oh. Thank you, Roz.
Roz then took me to the cupcake stall I was enchanted by. I bought 4 mini ones because I loved the look of them so much. Roz giggled at my child-like excitement.
Our last stop was at a donut stall. The beautiful hand-painted sign read “dark chocolate filled donuts”
Roz purchased 3 (one to take home for her boyfriend, Dazza) and again, generously refused any payment from me.
“Let’s go to the beach”
I followed Roz through the market stalls, open-mouthed at all the beauty and wonder around me. What a gorgeous place.
Outside, the sun was shining so brightly, I had to squint for a few moments until my eyes were used to it. A gorgeous, bright-red ferris wheel was in motion. It was huge! There were trampolines lined up in front of it and little ones were jumping and squealing in delight. It was so beautiful.
Because of the cold winter temperatures, our hot drinks and donuts were quickly losing their wonderful warmth.
To counter this, Roz suggested we sit and enjoy our breakfast – then maybe walk to the beach if I was still up for it.
Great idea 🙂
Roz carefully spread out her hand-made, lovely happiness blanket.
We both sat on it.
Not a single word was exchanged between us.
I bit into my deep-fried, terribly-bad-for-me, calorie-filled, delicious donut. I got sugar crystals all over my lips, cheeks and chin.
From where we sat, we could hear the sea. The sun beamed down upon us and gently warmed us.
I found myself relaxing. My breathing wasn’t as shallow as it had been all week. The brisk, fresh winter’s breeze gently ruffled my hair and the sun kissed my cheeks and the tip of my nose. I breathed in deeply and took in the smell of fresh, wonderful green grass, the hint of salt in the sea air, the sounds of children giggling and squealing and watched the bright, shiny ferris wheel go around and around – slowly and beautifully…with such purpose and wonder.
I found myself smiling. Sugar crystals were all over my lower face and my jumper. Argh. What a mess I’d made.
I stole a glance at my friend who was as much of a mess as I was. Roz smiled through her sugar crystals and tiny spot of dark chocolate on her cheek.
“Mmph…this is good, right?” she asked through a muffled, donut-filled mouth
I nodded and couldn’t help but return her grin.
I felt so overwhelmed by Roz’s kindness and thoughtfulness that it was difficult to speak – to say anything more. I was blessed again to remember Roz didn’t require it.
That was the best 20 minutes I’ve had in a really, really long time.
Roz dusted the sugar from her lovely face, jumper and pants.
“Well my dear – that’s an hour from the time we left your house. I’ve allowed 30 minutes for the drive back which concludes today’s 90-minute kidnapping. Do you want to stay on and do more or have you had enough?”
“I’m good to go” I answered. Feeling the freedom and blessing of being able to be truthful without fear of judgement or of hurting someone’s feelings.
Depression extends time in warped ways. I can be at a loud party for only 5 minutes but it feels like a painful hour and I just want to go home. Depression also demands a lot of time to rest at home on my own so that even the most enjoyable outings with people I love become overwhelming and stressful. This short outing was all I could handle today. It was all I needed.
I cant believe it, but without a word of question, my fragility and sadness were accepted and understood.
“Then we’ll go” Roz smiled across at me as she folded the happiness blanket.
And just like that, we walked back through the beautiful Fremantle markets to Roz’s car. We sang on the way home. I hadn’t noticed earlier but was hit with the realisation that the ‘heaviness’ of my spirit had been replaced with comfort and peace.
Roz pulled into my driveway behind Alun’s car.
“Yay! Al’s home!” she exclaimed – as if reading my thoughts.
I leaned over and touched my head to Roz’s shoulder – my version of a ‘hug’ while we were both sat in her car.
“Roz…thank you…for everything” I managed to squeeze out a meagre “Thank you” when I had wanted to say so much more. Roz had blessed me beyond words.
“It was my pleasure” and when Roz said it…I felt that she really meant it.
I spent the rest of the day studying and caught up on 3 long weeks of Uni. I felt energised, supported and blessed and because of Roz’s kindness, gentleness, acceptance, generosity and understanding…I was able to complete some tough uni studies with confidence.
Father God, I’m so thankful for the friends you have placed into my life. Thank you so much for friends who see my depression, nod gently in recognition and acceptance…and just hug me. Thank you for friends who don’t require me to ‘give out’ or to ‘be on’ and entertain them…but for friends who will just sit beside me while I remember how to really breathe again.
I am so extremely blessed and so very thankful xx