After visiting mom's grave we got "out of the rain" and spent the evening at the Green Canyon Hot Springs, an ancient (circa 1950’s) indoor swimming pool fed by a natural hot spring.
Let me take you there: It's cool and drizzly out, and rather perplexing for August. You step into a doorway and are met with a blast of warm, wet air and the echoed voices of children. A musty, woody odor hits, smelling like a run through the sprinklers. A teenager behind the snack counter points down the narrow hallway to his right. There, a cutout window in the hall opens to a tiny room hung with mesh bags on old wooden hangers. The woman behind the counter moves and speaks like she works in a subway booth; she takes your money and hands you one of the bags. You follow the cement corridor around to the ladies (or men’s, for my two male readers) changing room. The wooden dressing stalls have just a skimpy curtain to change behind. The wooden stalls are worn from decades of use, and random cement patches make a grey patchwork quilt of the uneven floor. A dozen layers of peeling paint reveal as many colors as the decades in which they were painted. You step into the indoor pool area that feels like one of those old Turkish bath houses you see in National Geographic, and lower yourself into water that is a cozy 90 degrees. An outside pool fed directly by the hot spring is a scorching 110 at least. Next to it is a freezing cold dipping pool fed by mountain runoff.
Ultra-modest Ellie would have none of the changing stalls. She fussed and hid and complained, certain that someone was lurking to sneak a peak at her, and finally found a hiding place to change into her suit. We eased into the bath like pool spent the afternoon bobbing about and watching the babies play on the long steps. Heidi’s baby, Lincoln, is just one day younger than Natalie, but far more agile and balanced. The menfolk headed out to the hot pool and the cold dip.
I did not.
Guy did. He is crazy that way. It reminds him of his mission in Finland where they sat in a 200 degree sauna (SOW-na, if you care to say it properly. It is a Finnish word, after all) and then rolled in the snow. Preferably naked (you heard me). He likes that flesh-searing-heat followed by toe-curling-cold experience. I have given birth, so I don’t need any more excitement for this lifetime.
As I hung out with Heidi, the days that have accumulated between us melted away until I forgot that I don’t get to see her whenever I want. I realized that we were just sitting there in silence, side by side, watching the babies play.
“Oh, my goodness! Look at me just acting like we get to see each other all the time!” I blurted, “Quick! Tell me everything!” She laughed.
But then I made her tell me everything.
It dawned on me how much I have missed, and how much I miss her. They say that the friendships you make are for a season, a reason, or a lifetime. Heidi is definitely a lifer in my book. I met her just after the terrible loss of her first baby boy, Andrew, whose little body just couldn't support life. We have walked together, painted together, cleaned and cried and worked together. We served in church as the leadership in the young women's organization, and have studied Parenting with Love and Logic together as well. I was at her second baby's birth, and because our younger kiddos are paired in age, we have booked a lot of hours nursing together. There is very little that we have not shared.
Now we also share distance.
It is so hard when friends leave us. I have lost contact with many friends over the years, but there are a precious few that I have held on to. Even though my friendship with Heidi started with a "reason", it has definitely grown into one that I believe will last beyond this lifetime.
I was reading in the New Testament today about Jonathan and David, and the friendship they had that was so close, "the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul" (1 Samuel 18:1). One of my greatest blessings in this life has been to have such a friend, a few, actually. I think that God, in his wisdom, gave us friendship, "bosom friends", as my dear friend Jackie says, or, - as Ellen calls them- "soul buddies", because He loves us. He loves us and He knew this earth-walk would be hard, so He gave us kindred spirits to lighten the journey. I am so grateful to live in an age where the voice or even the face of a dear friend can cross hundreds of miles, and be right there.
What an amazing time in the history of the world to be alive.
Ethan, hiding behind his mesh bag.
Jonah won't let me wash his hair at home
and is freaked out by laying down in the bath.
Eli and Jonah-boy, all swum out.
Tessa models the latest in travel wear and wet hair.