When I think of February, I immediately see red. Red for National Heart Month, Go Red for Women and yes, Valentine’s Day. It’s a month about the heart, and I couldn’t think of a better time to let some ‘so-called’ friends know just what I think about them.
These past few months have been emotionally emotional, and if emotions came with superpowers, I’d be wearing a cape right about now. Our family is walking through some difficult times, including mentally digesting the finality of my dad’s death, navigating the grieving process with my kiddos, dealing with uncertainties in my professional life, and mentally preparing for the final season of Game of Thrones. I know that last one threw you, but these are life-changing moments we’re talking about. Through it all, I have learned that the best thing about friends in your 40s is the fewer you have, the better off you are. You find out who people are when you’re going through stuff and might be too stubborn to ask for the help that’s offered. Fortunately, God gave me a crew of people who didn’t wait for my requests. They are for all intents and purposes, a pit crew – ready at a moment’s notice to give you just what you need before your car falls to pieces.
So, you want to know what a pit crew does? Well, in racing, they fix a race car during a race with things such as replacing tires or refueling. In life, they help heal your heart and revive you when you need it most. I love my ‘heart pit crew’ for all they’ve done and continue to do. So here’s the longest sentence imaginable to describe how my pit crew moves: They have food and groceries delivered to your home because they know you are going through a lot; they pick your children up from school and get them to their after-school activities in your stead; they leave their husbands for nights on end to make sure your children can sleep in their own bed while their mom stays at the hospital; they leave a bootcamp session to pray over you because they know you need it even if you don’t; they are coworkers who walk outside with you to give you a hug because they know you left your dad’s deathbed just to come in for one meeting and they knew you needed to be vulnerable for just a few moments before returning to the hospital; they leave their jobs to come to the hospital to hold you for over an hour while you cry for the first time because they know you’ve been busy being strong and they want to give you a safe place to just be a scared daughter for a while; they CashApp you money for meals outside of hospital food; they cover hotel rooms, Uber rides and food; they text and call you daily just to check on you and your family; they sit up with you for hours on a school night as you struggle to pull together your dad’s obituary; they call and text your family, job and friends so that you don’t have to say those words, ‘Dad died today’; they get hotel rooms in your hometown so that they can be there for you and your family every step of the way, they pay for printing, rentals, flowers and much more; they send flowers to your home just for you and send more flowers to the funeral home to honor your dad; they donate to your dad’s memorial scholarship fund; they send beautiful cards, write thoughtful messages, letters and personal notes that touch your soul; they say yes when you ask them to serve on program to share a few memories about your dad; they fly in from states away to pay their respects only to hop on a plane to return home the same day; they fly across country, drive down from Atlanta and make their way to south Georgia to say their goodbyes; they take off work to be there for you; they are there to hold you and tell you that everything is going to be alright, Lil’ mama, and you believe them; they clean and de-clutter your home; clean your oven; cook your meals; bring food to your home; style your hair; run errands, shop and do for you; they do so much for you, you forget what needs to be done; they check on you; they pray for you and with you; they pray because of your situation; they lift you up, make you laugh, give you hugs, but most of all, they LOVE.
The pit crew loves you beyond your hurt, anger, vulnerability, sadness, brokenness and fear. They love you through their actions. This is what a heart pit crew does. I can’t thank them enough. As I type this, I’m quite sure that I’ve forgotten to send a thank you note for some kindness that was sent our way.
If you’ve never experienced pit crew type love, I pray that you do. It humbles you and confirms that you are blessed beyond anything you’ve done to earn what you receive. Friends are few in a pit crew because the majority of my friends moved to family status many moons ago. My pit crew is comprised of family by DNA and family by choice, and I’m grateful for that. The crew doesn’t do anything in search of something in return, but I’m asking God to knock their socks off with unexpected blessings. And, I pray that I am forever able to put my love in action as a member of a few pit crews along the way. It took me a while to pen this love letter to my ‘so called’ friends, months in fact. I hope they know that every action, great and small, is forever tattooed on my heart.
I love you, my beautiful, loving, giving, thoughtful and glorious pit crew. Thank you for keeping me in this race.