I'm here because I've been called here. Called to a meeting of hearts and minds that have gradually become entwined with my own. And now there is a new face to meet and embrace and love because, if the one who has called us together loves her dearly, it will inevitably follow that we will love her, too.
We've pulled two teeny tables together, needing them only for a place to keep our drinks accessible and for the occasional elbow to rest. Most of the time, however, we are pulled inward, like drawstrings, closer towards each other ...
the better to hear you, my dear.
And so we begin the delicate dance of receiving someone new into our fold. A fold of individuals "bound together by common beliefs", rather than by a fence that confines us. I look around the table, taking it all in, silently and stealthily tracing my fingers along the faces that shimmer with the evening sun.
One smiles broadly, long brown ringlets framing her face and her joy. Her hands are clasped together, not from nerves but, rather, from a need to complete the circle that she is ...open arms, open mind, open heart. To find oneself surrounded by that circle is a gift, received again and again. Who could have possibly known of the pain that she carries almost daily, pressing in upon her brilliant mind, determined to wreak havoc but finding, instead, a fortress of choices, also made daily, that are able to push away that which seeks to destroy and chooses, instead, to embrace the gifts?
Another breathes hope. She has taken up arms against an evil that is hell bent on destroying bodies and spirits. Her heart is both heavy and light, weary from the dance of responsibility but also mightier from the challenge of a foe that doesn't kill her, only makes her stronger. Mercy leads her every muscle, leaving grace in its wake. She sighs.
And the newest among us sits quietly, taking it all in. A self-avowed city-girl-turned-country-mama because of a die-hard love for a man that is her partner on the journey. But I can see the honesty of her desire, burning through her skin, and the smell of earth is palpable. She was not destined to breathe smog forever. Instead, she breathes us in, receiving us with grace and openness. There is so much to know about her and not enough time in the moment.
The store's loud speaker informs us of closing time...we don't have to go home but we can't stay there. So we move outside and for two more hours, we stand, oblivious to the hard pavement beneath our feet...only aware of that drawstring, pulling us closer.
These are the nights that help to make me who I am.
Alone, I'm easily overwhelmed, burdened by all that has to be done or completed or checked off...
But here...here I learn that I don't have to do it all.
that is how we are supposed do it.
Alone, it is too much to take on
but together we are more.
One's extravagance of mercy will carry me through the darkness to another's eye for goodness.
And another's heart for courage becomes my buoy, preventing me from sinking into the abyss.
Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.
We finally disperse, walking to our cars with a fullness we didn't have before. We begin to realize the lateness of the hour but still, somehow, we move with a renewed sense of energy.
The orange moon hangs low, it too, with a fullness that belies its crescent shape. It hangs, ripe with the evening, not wanting to move from its place in the sky. I want to fling a rope around its slope and hang over the wide expanse of creation in order to take it all in.