Well, dear readers, I am happy to report that the trip was a smashing success! There were a couple minor challenges but it was all more than worth it to be with my friends again.
The hotel was tolerable but the mattress was definitely contaminated with something. Thankfully, our cargo van, also known as Baymax, saved the day. We ended up sleeping in the van and only using the hotel room during the day. We used the room for showering and eating and for Brett to work while I spent time with my friends.
It was so wonderful to be with them again and connect face to face. It was really special for me to witness their excitement over how much better I’m doing. It was so healing to realize that I made it through five years of debilitating illness with these three beautiful friendships still intact. I’m so thankful that even long periods of silence weren’t able to destroy the relationships.
There were many times when I feared my friendships wouldn’t survive because I had so little to give. And to be sure, not all of my friendships did. But I’m just so happy that I didn’t wake up from this nightmare to find myself alone.
It also gave me a lot of hope to see that my years of social isolation didn’t permanently damage my ability to connect with people deeply. No doubt, my experiences have introduced an element of fear surrounding vulnerability and intimacy. But I think this trip showed me that the fear can be overcome and that people are so worth it. I had very little social anxiety on this trip compared to other times. I think I’m making progress!
Speaking of progress, on Friday, we got to see Ballet Magnificat perform! I went to check out the building ahead of time and it wasn’t as pristine as I’d hoped. I felt some minor throat irritation as soon as I walked in. It wasn’t bad, but last time I ignored a warning sign it didn’t turn out so well. So, we decided to go to Home Depot and buy a respirator mask. We weren’t sure if it would work but I really, really, really wanted to see my friends perform. I promised I would tell Brett as soon as I felt myself going downhill.
Amazingly, the mask worked and we were able to enjoy the entire show! It was beautiful and we both cried! After the show I chatted with my friends until it was time to say goodbye. Then we went outside and I took off my mask to hug each of them for the first time. Brett and I thought it best to avoid hugs until the last day because I didn’t want to risk having a reaction before I got to spend time with them. Saying goodbye was difficult. I cried a little but I left with a heart full of gratitude.
We started towards home the next day and enjoyed a peaceful drive to Denver. We spent the night in the van and got to see Brett’s twin brother, his wife and our little niece on Sunday. We had lunch at the park and it was really nice. I hadn’t seen them in over two years!
This whole trip just made me all the more happy that I get to live and love again. I’m not going to die. I get to live!
By the way, Brett and I made a beautiful PDF of my favorite resources for suffering souls. I created the content and he made it look fancy with his superduper graphic design skills. It’s available for free to my email subscribers. Click here to sign up and receive 5 Resources for the Suffering Soul.