May I introduce….
Recently, I had the pleasure to make acquaintance again with an old friend. I was quickly reminded why I was so drawn to this person in the first place. Before my friend could even get a word out I unraveled a tapestry of excuses for my absence of late. I should have known that this particular friend was not one to judge or hold resentment for my distance, but instead was just genuinely grateful to be together again. Like old friends do, we easily picked up right where we had last left off. I rattled on about the kids, my husband and my love of writing. Before I knew it I was unloading the secrets of my heart: recent setbacks, complicated relationships, worries and insecurities, even unspoken doubts in myself and in God’s plan that I just don’t share with anyone. It was sincere attention. I was heard, understood and uplifted.
The first thing you notice about my friend is how blissfully peaceful he is with the struggles and imperfections of life. He abides in constant hope that all will be as it should be, eventually. No one has the ability to smooth my rough edges like he does. Some of our best conversations have taken place walking beneath the trees. I call him my, “trench amie,” because he has shown up loyal by my side for every battle of my life. He was in the passenger seat of our Isuzu black Trooper on September 11th as I barreled down the West Side highway away from the crumbling towers. Many months, my friend sat beside me knitting scarves in the hospital waiting room during my son Charlie’s treatment for cancer. He was in the operating room for the challenging births of two of my children and knew exactly what to say to my grieving heart when I miscarried. Before I delivered the funeral for my friend who took his own life, I was shaky, near speechless. He gave me the words and a push into the pulpit. It’s as if he knows something about me that I do not quite grasp yet about myself. He believes in me more than I believe in myself. Always, he is the chalice of peace in front of me.
My friend is not afraid to step away from the hustle and bustle of life when he knows it’s time to regroup. It is his conscious stillness and reflective time with God that replenish his energy, patience and kindness. Aware of his interior life he honors the needs of his soul. I still have much to learn from him. My friend is very honest about the universal difficulties of being human. He has known his fair share of struggles, exiles, rejections, heartbreaks and great losses. He is not afraid to shed tears for those he cares for deeply, raise his voice when he is witness to unkindness and bend his knee when afraid or lost.
He is grateful for whatever time he has to try and live a life of purpose and meaning. My friend handles the responsibility of free will with kid gloves, honored that God would trust him to choose how he lives his life: who and how he loves, where he spends his time and gifts, and how he ascribes meaning to his life. He claims, “Special mission” is written across his, yours and my passport. You may be thinking him a bit dull or too good to be true, but he enjoys a good celebration and knows a thing or two about wine.
Call it magnetism, but my friend is never without a following. Apparently, he has never met a stranger. Regardless of one’s path, his words are soul-universal. Not a licensed psychologist, still he has this remarkable ability to see what is in another’s soul. And you don’t seem to mind that he knows you so intimately. You will be hard-pressed to leave his presence. I can attest by his word and deed that he is not impressed by appearance, wit or wealth, only a kind and humble heart. My friend knows intimately that forgiveness is hard. Some of his closest friends betrayed him. But he is convinced mercy is the only way to live light and free.
Although a poet in his own right, his prayers are simple and honest. He is not ashamed to admit that he appeals to God for consolation, guidance, creativity, healing and strength. He is open to rituals, prayer, worship, time spent in nature and in community to experience the depth and mystery available on this side of heaven. He will be quick to tell you that there is no one way to experience love, holiness, and the presence of God for that matter. Ask him and he presents a convincing case that there is so much more to this story than can be explained by the eye or rational brain. You could call him a dreamer, especially when he talks about his grand hopes for our world. He’s a big believer in miracles.
Sometimes I envy the intimacy he has with God, because I see how far I have to go. His advice, “Be curious and just keep stepping forward.” There have been times when he has called into question God’s plan, but I think it’s his prescient trust and surrender that guide everything he does. I would say healing is his life’s mission. He doesn’t have an M.D. or run an apocathary, but his ability to know what a person needs in body, mind and soul is unparalleled.
And lastly, he is not afraid of death and he claims that I should not be either. He knows he and I will live and love forever.
I would like to introduce you to my oldest and dearest friend. He responds to many names, my favorite is Jesus.
Welcome to Easter,