July’s gifts were many…warm summer nights, freedom found through vacations and long weekends, and heat that forced us to slow down. I hope you found some pleasure in your July this year. I chose to make the most of my flexible calendar, attending three lengthy experiences away from home – finding new faces, uncomfortable beds and the loving support of my husband when I returned home each time. I might have planned too much, but am grateful for what I learned. Enough for a year’s worth of Glimmers, but let me share an observation about meeting new people.
At 66, you would think I’d be used to the process of making a new friend. But as I age and gain perspective, I look at this (and other) phenomenon differently. First, I don’t take it for granted. People are often comfortable with their circle of friends and don’t exert the effort needed to get to know someone new. I understand the ease of long-term friendships, certainly treasure my own. But since I’ve felt the “closed door” version of relationship, I am sensitive to those who turn to me with an expectant smile and an unspoken desire to be known.
Then there’s my need to be known…and liked…and approved of…its exhausting! I’ve worked hard to “clean up” my neediness and like most of us, I enjoy the connections found in friendship. I try not to let my needs get in the way, instead I focus on the person in front of me, the gift that she or he is at this moment of our encounter. As I hear stories, understand points of view, and experience an emotional presence, I’m aware of grace stepping into the conversation.
When I, when we, open our hearts to a new person we are saying yes to the possibility of love. We are saying yes to vulnerability in the midst of our story, our fears, our desires. How brave we are! How beautiful! Each time we let go into an unexpected intimacy, we meet a new side of who we are, as well. We place it before another and risk their willingness to meet us right there – in that moment. I had a few of those encounters in my time away from home, Each felt like a blessing, a gift of love flowing over me and into my heart. This summer’s legacy will be these memories of sweet affection found in a complicated life. May it be so for you too, my friends.
With thanks for your friendship, Lisa