There’s a meme floating all over FB that says something like, “If you’ve been friends for seven years, you will be friends forever.” Sometimes, but not always, at least from my little chair.
It all started in 2007, when a blogger suggested I read this. So, I did. It said, “He played me a piece of music, happened to be my all time favorite (still is) although if you can hear the bagpipes I think it’s even better. Sounds like home calling me, some distant island off the coast of Ireland or Scotland. He played Amazing Grace and I went to pieces.” And, as I’m writing this at 12:59 AM, Pandora is on shuffle and guess what’s playing? THAT is what it’s all about. Coincidence? I like to think it’s more than that, it’s divine intervention. For me, it’s God telling me that this was all part of the plan, and the plan is very good.
It was like coming home to a person I’d never met, but immediately knew intimately. (Damn, those bagpipes…) Anyway, the only other person I’ve ever had this kind of connection with is my dearest Hubby, who is wondering why his crazy wife is blogging in the middle of the night when she hasn’t written a word in at least six months. She and I became acquainted in the blogosphere, and it was good.
Then, in July of 2009, I got in my car and drove 352 miles to Hatteras, Frisco to be exact, to spend 4 days with her and her girls. Although we’d never met IRL, there was no awkwardness. The first thing we did was get in the car and go for groceries. An ordinary, everyday task. At the end of those 4 days, we left the island, drove in opposite directions, and returned from Narnia back to normal life on the other side of the wardrobe . But it was a new normal.
She was already in the middle of a very painful new normal. My painful new normal had occurred a few years earlier, and was a different flavor from hers. Regardless, new normals are hard work, and she’s worked VERY hard as long as I’ve known her.
There were some striking commonalities: we both work (or worked) in the IT geek world, she’s an artist, I’m a musician. We knit. Big and little things. There were other meet-ups IRL, back at Hatteras that September, in the mountains of Todd, NC the next September. She has opened her home to me, more than once, so that I could introduce my kids to the glory of the City. We’ve celebrated birthdays in Floyd and Glen Echo, being dance gypsies. And we celebrated a birthday in The Forest.
On January 18, 2016, I turned 55 and we hit the road again, dance gypsies meeting up in Harrisonburg for a weekend of Contra and waltz and pizza and wine and marathon TV (I can now say I’ve seen The Godfather Parts 1 and 2) and silliness and seriousness, and it was wonderful. I would never have even tried Contra if not for her, and it’s become a large part of my life, a place to meet new people and forget the world and its problems and just dance. Hubby dances, Kate dances, and Wubby is making noise about trying it too, which is pretty amazing when I think about it.
We talked about life and beliefs and what is important and what isn’t. From a strictly political standpoint, we are on opposite ends of the spectrum, but there is common ground. We talked a little about religion; we talked A LOT about faith. Again, commonality in an area where it looks like we are on opposite ends of a spectrum. But, religion isn’t very important, while FAITH is vital, and I think we can agree on that. The labels come off, leaving the truth underneath, and it’s good.
We are both going through new seasons in life. Change is hard, and some lessons have to be learned by living them as opposed to looking at them from a distance and deciding that, no, I don’t think I want to walk through that one. There’s a line from Garth Brooks’ The Dance: “I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.”
So, to Alecto, my friend, my sister: I love you. It blows my mind that you love me. You make me a better person. You challenge me to look at my core beliefs, to define what is real and what isn’t, and you do it with love. You also said this, and I will always remember:
Sometimes the heart bleeds out like you’re going to never stand again. And sometimes there are transfusions in the most amazing places. And sometimes you find there’s more to you or me than meets the eye… But at the end of the day, we are only worth what we can give away and the score won’t be counted until the end.
You’ve given me so much, and I can only hope that I’ve been able to reciprocate.
Here’s to the rest of our lives. We shall dance on!
(And Pandora says, “Amazing Grace” again, on a solo fiddle)
I want to do this again, very soon.