Call it fate, Spirit, happenstance, coincidence, gut instinct or whatever, something drew the four of us to stop and strike a conversation with strangers who would quickly become dear friends.
From then on, we began meeting and talking in the community dog park which quickly turned into dinner at each others' places. One dinner occasion, we decided to make breakfast food for dinner, which became known as "Brinner." Since then, anytime we've eaten together it has been Brinner, and last Friday we had our final brinner (for a while). It was the Brinner to end all Brinners, in Tom's words. I dubbed it the Capstone Brinner.
Tom is some kind of electrical engineer who does cool things at work which I don't understand. Even though he graduated from Clemson he's quite intelligent and I'm sure is on his way to a great career with Eaton. Above all that, he's a laid back guy who likes beer, loves his family and always makes us feel welcome.
Cynthia is a part-time COTA, full-time mom and super Brinner chef. I've lost count how many meals she's fed Heather and I (especially in these last weeks before Alaska). I always value her opinion and am impressed by her wisdom as she contemplates raising a cutie wild child and balancing a marriage with personal and spiritual time.
I look up to both of them.
The comment was made a few months ago that though Tom and Cynthia are very social and often hang out with many folks other than us, Heather and I are the only people that they can be sad around. We are their sad friends. A compliment, we are the friends around whom they will easily and openly bicker, gladly watch us bicker, or sustain a conversation about less than happy topics when the setting is right.
They too, have been sad friends for Heather and me. When I ministered as a chaplain to a family who lost a baby in the hospital, they arranged for me to hold their baby Lydia and put her down for bed. And somehow, this mended my heart that day.
Around them, I can be real, and I think the same is true for them. We all need friends around whom we can be sad, tearful, and authentic even in the difficult moments of life.
Thanks Tom and Cynthia for being sad around us and allowing us to be sad with you. We will see you again, and look forward to watching Lydia grow up and eating more Brinner. But in the mean time while we're gone, we will miss you, sad friends.