Monday, March 10, 2008

Laverne & Shirley - er, make that Lisa & Leanna

Making our Dreams Come True by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox
(Laverne and Shirley Lyrics)

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
Schlemeel, schlemazel, hasenfeffer incorporated.
We're gonna do it!

Give us any chance, we'll take it.
Give us any rule, we'll break it.
We're gonna make our dreams come true.
Doin' it our way.

Nothin's gonna turn us back now,
Straight ahead and on the track now.
We're gonna make our dreams come true,
Doin' it our way.

There is nothing we won't try,
Never heard the word impossible.
This time there's no stopping us.
We're gonna do it....

My friend Lisa's having a baby.

Another baby, I should say - Leland will just be 21 months old when the new little boy is born in August.

My friend Lisa is *brave.* (brave=crazy)

Lisa and Leanna graduated from Furman with me. They were roommates and grew up together in Birmingham, and they each, in their own ways, have always seemed fearless to me. Leanna has been a chaplain and a church staff member and is far along on a doctorate from Vanderbilt Divinity. She's brilliant - you wouldn't know quite how brilliant because she's so quiet about it, but she was Valedictorian of our class at Furman. I think she was quiet about it, at least in part, because she didn't need the validation of other people realizing how smart she is.

This is in contrast to the Chris version of things, where you want everyone to tell you how smart (or good, or nice, or musical, or...) you are so you can believe it yourself.

Leanna's never sought that in the time that I've known her. What I've been working to gain the last several years - a trust in myself - she's always seemed to me to have. Fearless.

Lisa was an Education major - early childhood, Lisa? But she never takes the easy or normal path. In the first few years after Furman, she was a ballroom dance instructor (having tried out for the job w/o knowing any ballroom dances!?!), a host at the Opryland Hotel (one of those things where you show the stars and famous people around - another job she had no experience or training for, she just thought it would be neat or something), and ultimately a missionary for a couple of years in Kyrgyzstan.


She came back and moved to Charleston - not back home to Birmingham, or to Nashville where she'd been living, or Greenville, Charleston. She didn't, as best I can recall, have a job or anything lined up - she just wanted to live in Charleston. So she went. She was sure she'd find something. She liked the beach (once during exams she got tired of studying and wanted to see the beach, so she left campus after midnight, drove four hours to the beach, walked on the sand for 15 minutes or so, and drove back), she wanted to live in Charleston, she moved to Charleston.

This is in contrast to the Chris version of things, where you want to do something, call up six or eight friends to talk it over - for 6 months to a year - while you dither and agonize and, probably, write blog posts describing the existential angst caused by the possibility of making a change.

I don't demean this, exactly; this is often my process. But Lisa's process always looked different to me. Want to live in Charleston, announce move to Charleston, move to Charleston. Simple.


Lisa and Leanna have remained among my closest friends. Granted, we can go a year or two without seeing each other (hey, ladies, we've got to start planning this year's get-together! When's Dust free?), but they're still among the people whose friendship I most value. They have always been fun, creative, entertaining - one day I'll get them to re-enact their version of Simon&Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence" and post it on Youtube, it's about the funniest thing I've ever seen - they could've gone on the road and sold tickets for that performance! They always had lots of friends because they were so full of life - and when you became their friend, they introduced you to a dozen others. My college experience, and my post-college life, have been much fuller because of the friends they introduced me to. In their energy and their fearlessness (brave=crazy), they always reminded me of Laverne & Shirley. (Laverne & Shirley and Happy Days were among my favorite shows growing up. I mention Happy Days gratuitously, so Leanna and Lisa can mock me for it - it's an insider thing.) Oh, I know they're human - they have their doubts just like anybody. But their doubts don't stop them. Nothing's impossible, nothing's gonna hold us back, we're gonna do it - we're gonna make our dreams come true.

And they do.

And that's why, in addition to being great friends, they've also always, kind of, been heroes to me. They helped pull me out of my introverted INFJ life (I wonder if it's their fault my J became a P?), helped me make great friendships, gave me lots of laughter and acceptance - and taught me, sometimes, to be fearless. Or at least less fearful.


We were often crazy, at Furman.


May we all be so lucky as to be so crazy.

Lisa, congratulations. Love and prayers are with you. Tell John and Leland to take good care of you - not that you need it! Scott, keep being good to Leanna. Don't be strangers, folks. I've posted a picture to the right - another of my heroes ;) who won't be held back - that's in your honor, you two.

Thanks for the inspiration. At this time in my life, I need the reminder. I'm not backing down or taking the easy path. I'm walking the way.


On your mark, get set, and go now,
Got a dream and we just know now,
We're gonna make our dream come true.
And we'll do it our way, yes our way.
Make all our dreams come true,
And do it our way, yes our way,
Make all our dreams come true
For me and you.

1 comment:

Chris Cottingham said...

In response to this posting, one of my friends said "I've officially pulled my chair up to the adult table...we bought a minivan. Can you believe it? Even worse, is that I really am enjoying it!"

I am _so_ disappointed. :P