A Fairytale Weekend: My Girls Trip to The Greenbrier (Part One)
Once upon a time, there were three girls in very different seasons of their lives, but at similar crossroads.
One was an aspiring actress in her 20’s, working a “day job” to pay the bills but hanging her dreams on the hope that someday soon, her dream would BE her job. One was a single mom in her 40’s, uprooted from everything she knew, having followed her heart to a new city, a new chapter, a new life. And the third girl was a writer in her 30’s, a dreamer, an idealist…a girl who truly saw the best in everything and everyone and wore her heart on her sleeve…a girl who was coming off the other side of a very brief but intense failed attempt at finding love, and was feeling more than a little beat up by life and circumstance.
The common thread that wove these three unlikely comrades together was friendship…and the shared belief in magic. You see, no matter how rocky or dark or uncertain the road may get, these girls firmly believed that their futures held bright and beautiful and fantastical things. But somewhere along the way, they had all forgotten how much they deserved these bright and beautiful and fantastical things. They had forgotten, this actress and writer and single mom, that they were princesses (as all women are). But one weekend not so long ago and not so far away, they were reminded in the most unforgettable of ways, when they were swept away to a magical place called “The Greenbrier” in White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia.
I’m the writer in the story, obviously.
The day we left for The Greenbrier was a crazy day, a hectic day, a day that felt in some ways like it came straight out of the book of Revelation. There was confusion with the rental car, we were running late, and I had my own personal stuff going on that had me a bit on edge. Plus there had been an ice storm in parts of West Virginia that was going to make navigating our way to The Greenbrier a little tricky, particularly since we would be driving through the night. Then when my girlfriend Alli (the actress) and I picked up the rental car, we realized there was a malfunction with the trunk door. The malfunction being that it would shut on you abruptly, randomly, and without so much as a warning. We discovered this as Alli and I were loading our luggage into the trunk. We were chatting back and forth one minute, the next the car had swallowed Alli whole and she was nowhere to be found.
“Alli?” I peered around the side of the SUV. “Alli?!?”
Suddenly I heard the sound of banging coming from the trunk door.
“ALLI?” I raced around to the back of the SUV to find Alli hunkered down inside the trunk, pounding on the window to get my attention, all the while, laughing hysterically. It took me a good five minutes of blindly hitting random buttons on the trunk door to get it opened, the tears of laughter running down my face and blocking my vision. The door was open for all of a minute when it started to beep frenetically before swinging shut with the urgency of a Venus Flytrap, once again leaving Alli stranded in the trunk.
After literally picking myself up off the ground from where I had fallen in a fit of of laughter, I managed to fish Alli out of the trunk and we made our way to Danielle’s (the single mom) house to scoop her up and hit the road. (But not before the spastic trunk door snapped shut and bonked me in the head as I was helping Danielle get her luggage loaded. Sigh.)
As we made our way through the night to The Greenbrier, I couldn’t help but reflect on the past three weeks of my life. I had gotten caught up in a whirlwind romance, the kind that I usually warn my readers against, but that had seemed like such a divine meeting, I had allowed myself to let down my usual defenses and embrace it wholeheartedly. And for the first two weeks, it seemed like the guy was an answer to every prayer I had ever sent up to heaven for a potential mate. He wooed me and pursued me and went the extra mile to make me feel special…even literally going the extra mile to drive across the country to meet me in person.
But then…just as suddenly as he had appeared in my life…he disappeared, leaving me with no explanation whatsoever. Though I had felt in my heart when we were together in person that something between us was “off”…it still hurt exponentially to be discarded and treated as disposable by someone who had gone so far out of his way to prove to me that he wasn’t just another “ordinary” guy. Imagine my surprise to realize that he was, in fact, just your typical male who pulled the typical lame vanishing act instead of talking things out and parting ways peacefully, like mature adults. Rejection of any kind stings, even when you know in your gut that the relationship is not the one for you. And what that guy had no way of knowing is that I have always struggled with feeling like I’m not quite worthy of receiving lavish displays of affection like he showed in the first two weeks of our relationship. I am GREAT at the giving thing, I have that down pat…giving time, giving love, giving resources, giving energy and emotion and effort…but when it comes to allowing myself to receive – I struggle with it, as I suspect most women do. And to have someone take their affection abruptly and without explanation served only to confirm those nagging fears about myself. Just like all of you, I am very much a work in progress and I’m no expert when it comes to matters of the heart. I’m learning as I go along, which sometimes means I battle feelings of doubt and inadequacy and unworthiness. (I will add that the guy did send me a text message apology about a month later – but I’m sure, like me, you had to just fight an eyeroll at the phrase “text message apology.” A day late and a dollar short, anyone?)
All of this hits home my point of just how providential the timing of this trip was. I love how God has a plan that supersedes ours, and how He always sets things and events in our life in perfect order…even when we can’t see it at the time. He was about to give me a BIG, beautiful lesson in how to receive big, beautiful blessings.
You know how in the movies, right when the protagonist is about to give up hope in realizing her dream or meeting her mate or finding her destiny, fate sweeps in and “Bippity Boppity Boos” her to the ball, the meet cute, or the Land of Oz? Well, just call The Greenbrier my Fairy Godmother or my magical ruby slippers, because over the next three days, all the stress and confusion of the last three weeks would melt away as I was transported far away from everything I knew to a beautiful, colorful mecca of warm and inviting and joyful people and unforgettable adventures.
And I didn’t even have to tap my red stilettos together three times to get there.