Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Circle

My friend Karen and her daughter Sarah are visiting this week.

I love their visits. Karen and I go way back to college days and we shared an apartment for awhile before I got married. She and I have a million happy memories together - of student nurse uniforms, of popcorn and young adult angst sessions, of exchanging stories about our husbands and kids. We have made time in our busy lives to connect and reconnect over the years even though time and the Cascade mountains separate us.

One of the reasons that I enjoy their visits is that Karen is a member of a small circle of people that really get it when I attempt to share my experiences with autoimmune disease.

I don't have to put up a good front when she is here. I don't have to create bogus reasons to snooze on the couch, suck down large volumes of fluids, or hide out in the shade. When Karen instructs me not to fuss before their arrival, I know that she genuinely means it. My circle people wait for a sincere answer when they ask, "How are you?"


She is also part of that circle of people that keeps me honest.

I would immediately be busted if I were to elaborate or exaggerate any stories from our youth. Although, come to think of it, with a few embellishments, some of those stories would make great blog posts. Hm....

Karen, like others in my circle, can discern my energy levels quickly - even by the tone of my voice on a phone call. Once detected, there's no faking energy that I don't have, no pushing my physical limits. I have learned not to protest when banished to the couch or sent into the air conditioned house.

Those in this circle of people also are aware of my quirky diet restrictions and of my ongoing battle to limit calories. A lift of an eyebrow or a quizzical look can sometimes bring me reluctantly back to the straight and narrow path. The circle folks are supportive, but they also realize in the interests of self-preservation when to back off. There are days when nobody - but nobody - can get between me and that apple fritter without putting themselves in danger of significant bodily injury.

My circle people realize the necessity of living within my limits, yet they also encourage me to continually challenge myself to find activities that keep my limitations from becoming restrictive or boring. I have always benefited by conversations which begin with, "Have you ever thought of....", or "Would you be interested in.....", or "Have you tried.....". Even if the activity hasn't worked well for me, it has provided another opportunity for me to explore my boundaries. My circle keeps me from becoming complacent or lazy.

Everyone deserves a circle like the one that I have been blessed with.

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