I’ve heard it said that a real friend is one who buries the body (and keeps the secret). In this case, I truly have real friends. This bonding body burying moment happened on the heels of a hard season of loneliness and discouragement. My blog has been quiet as I wrestled weeds out of my heart that I didn’t have words to express. On the outside, I am living the dream. We are ten months into occupying this beautiful home perched on seven acres with a front porch practically kissing the Blue Ridge foothills. We are planting and building and dreaming- it’s amazing. It’s also lonely as my husband took a job in bush Alaska and the anticipated five months turned into a year and half of separation. Being fairly new here, I don’t have many friends who really know me and I can comfortably lean into. We are still trying to find our “place” here; anyone who has relocated knows the discomfort of this season.
Three weeks ago we had a series of minor catastrophes that bowed my head in discouragement. In frustration I shared a paragraph on Facebook and instantly my feed was full of loving encouragement. I also received the sweetest card in the mail, a beautiful drawing, an enlightening book and a spirit lifting phone call. My courage was filing back up until I received news of the death of my dear friend’s son. We birth and adopted our children in tandem and they had grown up together. This final punch took all the air out. I was ready to move back to Alaska and be with our grieving friends, my husband and our grown sons and daughter in laws whom I constantly miss. I didn’t feel I had anything really holding me here anyways- a year and half and I was still struggling to belong. I can always plant another garden and grow more trees. Maybe we just chalk this season up to learning and go back home.
As I wasted a rainy morning perusing Alaska real estate sites, looking for a change to scratch my itchy restlessness, I heard God whispering to me to press in a little bit longer. Yes, the loneliness , disappointment and frustration are real, but there is something good here if I stay. So I whispered a weak prayer asking God to help me stay the course.
A few days later we were due to host our biweekly community potluck and the situation with our dog escalated to the point of needing to euthanize her. The veterinarian couldn’t fit her in and due to the fact it was Friday afternoon we were stuck with waiting a weekend. My daughter couldn’t take the emotional roller coaster anymore and begged for it to be over. Turns out one of the young men coming that night was experienced and willing to do what was needed, so in the midst of serving soup to thirty guests I took a break and trekked to the back property to get this awful deed done. As I was tending to that task, all the people inside were praying for my family. We felt those prayers all weekend. Digging a deep enough hole in this clay and rock in order to keep the coyotes away is near impossible and I was processing my dilemma with a new friend over dirty dishes. She immediately offered to take the body home and bury it in the woods next to their own deceased dog.
My love language is acts of service, so as strange as it sounds, I felt very loved by my euthanizing and body burying friends. People who haven’t known us very long stepped up and served us in difficult ways; they did what I wasn’t capable of doing. In the midst of a taxing and emotional day, I was acutely appreciative of knowing so many people had my back. God was covering us and bringing comfort through our new community. I have real friends! A flood of them!! I can’t wait to tell you the rest of the story…….