These are my thoughts about an honorary member of my birth family, my just-like-a-sister Sandy.
Forty years ago this week she dared me into going to church–Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California. It was the height of the ‘Jesus Movement’ of the 70’s and Sandy had been hounding me to go and give my life to Jesus.
My life has been changed ever since that time; however, this piece is not about that–my salvation experience–but about friendship with someone who has been a part of my family for well, over 40 years.
Sandy is like a sister. When we get together as a family she can reminisce about our home and our family right along with the rest of us. I remember sitting around the pool at my sister Laurie’s a couple of summers ago and sharing memories of our mother as if Sandy was one of us.
My mother died at 55 and the stories are bittersweet–Sandy points out, as only an observer can, how much she envied coming to our house because there was so much going on there.
She knows all five of us–I have two brothers, also–and we all went to the same high school. The recollections overlap in many ways.
We have been through some harrowing, hard and happy times. Harrowing, like the time we snuck through her bedroom window one night in the pitch black Southern California night to get back inside the house (her mother thought we were having a sleep over. Well, we were. Sort of.)
Hard times because Sandy walked through the death of her father and two brothers, all the while maintaining her friendships with my sister and our family, as well as maintaining her sense of humor. And while keeping her faith, the one she brought me to.
The happy times are the ones I treasure the most and will continue to treasure. When I visited my sisters this summer to celebrate my 60th birthday, Sandy showed up with props for the night (see below) that caused us all to just about pee our pants with laughter. And this in the middle very messy, painful life situations with both of my sisters.
|Laurie, Sandy, me (I’m 60–very serious business!)|
How did she know we’d need the lightening up right then? I think it’s a gift. Her creativity amazes me–she can throw a party like nobody’s business, complete with costumes and tiki bars, roasting pigs, you name it. (Can someone say ‘Chili Cookoff?’)
No, Sandy doesn’t have a gift, SHE is a gift.
If I see her every twelve months (and I will again this June for a wedding) we will sit and chatter as if we were 14 again, yukking it up in high school, ditching class, going to the beach, sharing music. It will be as if we spoke just yesterday, without skipping a beat.
More importantly she is a soul sister who voices simple kindness in often a very deep way that brings light wherever she speaks it.
A sister for the soul. A soul sister.