I enjoyed another slow morning at Aunt Sue’s apartment, although this time it was bittersweet because her being at work meant I wasn’t going to see her again. I’ve so much enjoyed getting to know my family members, but I just don’t come through South Carolina or Alabama that often! I hate that I might not get to see them again for a long time. This is the avoidant personality’s dilemma – loving more people means more pain, so why love more people? Because they’re SO GREAT, I can’t help myself.
Those feelings got buried, however, because at 1:00 I headed to see Stephanie Broach! She’s staying at her parent’s house in Birmingham, and it was immediately easy to be together. Too late, perhaps, I realized that we’d never really hung out one-on-one in Dallas, but after a day together, I wish we had! She showed me a book of famous letters (like King Darius and Alexander the Great trash talking each other in the most epic prose), and then we drove two hours to her grandparent’s house on Lake Martin.
During the drive, we caught up on life post-DTS. Although neither of us are currently working as counselors, it was so nice to slide into the deep conversations of “what’s currently hurting you?” and feel safe enough to answer. At the lake house, I was mostly stunned by how beautiful it was, and how nice her family was. I know she must have prepared them for my presence, but they just immediately acted as though I was one of the group, no questions asked. Her dad took us out on a pontoon boat, where Stephanie and I talked about grace and Philip Yancey and theology classes and life.
When we got back to the house, everyone piled into a car and we went out to eat. Halfway through my meal, I realized that I was eating with a bunch of strangers, carrying on a normal conversation and occasionally spacing out when things got family-centric. Why is that noteworthy? Because I wasn’t anxious. Normally I’m on high alert when interacting with new people, but this felt very normal. Of course, this could partially be thanks to the wine I’d had to drink, but I’d like to think that my road trip and constant reliance upon strangers’ goodwill has helped me adapt to normal human interactions.
After we got back to the house and ate some apple pie, Stephanie and I sat on the dock in the dark. We listened to Taylor Swift, cried a little bit about families and growing up. The whole day, really, we just couldn’t shut up. It was great. I can’t wait to do it again tomorrow.