my other college roomate...

anyway, on to my other college roommate, dina (who by the way does not have a roman nose, which is today’s very weird toponym “word of the day” and there was just no good way to work that into this post).

robyn and i were sophomores and were in a dorm room and shared a bathroom with another room with three girls in it. one of the three girls was dina. she had been put in that room and didn’t really know those girls and she kind of knew robyn and i from the year before and so she spent a lot of time in our room. which was fine with us. she just happened to be the funniest person in the world. 

at night, robyn and i would climb into our loft beds (with spiral staircases, we had the BEST loft beds that some girl’s dad had made her and her roommate the year before and we had bought them from her) and once robyn and i were in bed, dina would stand on a chair in the middle of the room and entertain us with some story, interpretive dance, or recitation of a poem. ok, it was funnier than it sounds (or were we just deliriously tired from taking photos of ourselves with taped up noses or from wearing crowns all day? who knows?).

what robyn and i were beginning to suspect (and would then spend the rest of our lives noticing) about our sweet and entertaining suite-mate, dina, was that whatever normal people are made of, she wasn’t made of. and i mean that in a really nice way because she has photos of me like this.... 

yes, whatever normal people are made of, dina is not. because in a world that in increasingly dark, she sparkles. figuratively and literally sparkles with a joy and an excitement and a joie de vivre that if she knew french would make more sense to her...

she lit up our dorm room whenever she was in it. and then robyn and i convinced her to live off campus in an apartment with us (we lived at #4 and so our favorite thing to say was “there is more at #4”.) dina didn’t have a car so she shared robyn’s red car and my blue car. dina and i shared a room and the only time she didn’t sparkle was before her shower in the morning. in fact, i was NOT allowed to speak to her until she had showered. i was a “happy waker” and liked to wake up and immediately begin to discuss important events like what to wear that day, what episode of “little house on the prairie” was showing, or how i hadn’t studied enough for a test. dina liked to wake up and shower and not discuss life issues before she was fully alive. 

we were in the same major (education) and we had most of our classes together, so i was able to observe this sparkle thing that she does a lot. and whatever she had, i wanted it. whatever she was on, i wanted to take some.... i planned to stick close and watch and figure out what was so magnetic about her personality. 

and i have stuck close (figuratively if not literally) for some 20 odd years now (some of those years more odd than others). and all i can say is that my original assessment was correct. whatever normal people are made of, she is not. there is something in her that sparkles...

she lights up a room, a conversation, a snowy porch, a walk on the beach, a stone lion, a podcast about audiovisual stuff, whatever she is doing, wherever she is... it is the brightest place in the world. and i still can’t figure out how she does it. but i have some clues to follow and i make a heck of a nancy drew...

  • don’t care what other people think. care about what God thinks.
  • but do care about other people deeply. cry with them, pray for them, laugh with them, share your heart with them. make time for them. community is hard work, but it is worth it.
  • sing. a lot. even if you wouldn’t win american idol. sing. make up songs. learn new songs. and sing loud.
  • read great books. read the Bible. read lea’s blog. 
  • don’t love the bubble.
  • be an incredible mother and treasure EVERY moment, scrapbook the hell out of everything. say a bad word every now and then just to shock the system.
  • don’t forget to be an incredible wife. make that a priority. 
  • learn lessons sometimes the hard way. learn them. move on wiser. don’t look back.
  • get grace. even if you can’t walk up stairs without tripping doesn’t mean that you can’t let grace define your very essence. 
  • don ‘t sleepwalk through life... LIVE the thing. don’t settle for status quo, aim higher than being “just fine”.

one of my favorite new songs reminds me so much of dina. she isn’t always the most “graceful” of girls so when i heard the first line about walking and stumbling, it made me smile. even though she sometimes is walking, stumbling on her shadowfeet... she whispers of a well-lit way (actually she SHOUTS of it and GLOWS with its possibilities). and wherever i find her... i find her in Christ... still standing. and most of the time dancing and singing....

Shadowfeet by brooke fraser
Walking, stumbling on these shadowfeet 
Toward home, a land that I've never seen 
I am changing 
Less and less asleep 
Made of different stuff than when I began 
And I have sensed it all along 
Fast approaching is the day 
When the world has fallen out from under me 
I'll be found in you, still standing 
When the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees 
When time and space are through 
I'll be found in you 
There's distraction buzzing in my head 
Saying in the shadows it's easier to stay 
But I've heard rumours of true reality 
Whispers of a well-lit way 
When the world has fallen out from under me 
I'll be found in you, still standing 
When the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees 
When time and space are through 
I'll be found in you 
You make all things new 
When the world has fallen out from under me 
I'll be found in you, still standing 
When the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees 
When time and space are through 
I'll be found in you 
When the world has fallen out from under me 
I'll be found in you, still standing 
Every fear and accusation under my feet 
When time and space are through 
I'll be found in you 
When time and space are through 
I'll be found in you 
When time and space are through 
I'll be found in you

the ONE reason that i would consider sending my children to furman university (and paying the price of the tuition) would be for them to make friends like the friends that i made there. i pray for a dina and a robyn in their lives. i also pray that maybe they would be a little bit like these women that have defined friendship for me for several decades. i pray they would sparkle and light up lives like a dina. that they would have the style and graciousness of a robyn. and that they would have the blessings of life long friends.

the ending of my favorite musical camelot ends with king arthur saying these lines...

“one of what we all are. 
less than a drop in the great blue motion of the sunlit sea.
but it seems that some of the drops sparkle.
some of them do sparkle.”

dina is one of those drops that sparkle. she has lit up my life for over 20 years. my world is brighter because she reflects the Light into it....

and dina, i have a new adjective to describe you now, you aren’t really a flirt, you are just sparkly. and you can’t hide sparkle... nor would anyone want you to...