I’ve been catching up with a few former work colleagues – the ones who remain forever friends despite the changes in jobs, locations, industries. It’s true that some people pass through our lives and move on, and we glean what we’re supposed to in the process. Lessons learned, sometimes painfully sometimes joyously and that’s that.
One of my dear ‘forever friends’ reached out last week and asked how things were going. She’d heard about my consulting business and writing projects from a friend-of-a-friend and was curious. It was a long, languishing chat and I was relieved that her interests were less sleuthing and more genuine. When you’ve been out of touch for a while, it’s hard to know.
I shared links to a few of my passion projects and gave the ‘elevator speech’ version of the delight I’m experiencing as a writer. My friend shares my interest and once upon a time, she published poetry and taught English, enjoying her time as a teacher of English as a Second Language most of all.
Her deep connections and life affirming empathy will keep her traveling forever as she has open invitations to circle the globe as an extension of family for countless former students. She was referred to as “Ms. M” by her students but affinity-wise? She was family…relationships built on kinship, love and kindness. My friend became a member of students’ families when their ‘by blood’ kin were thousands of miles away.
As we talked, we caught up on her family news. Some heartaches and losses and a few triumphs. Babies, graduations, once-in-a-lifetime travel to visit a few former students. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed her wit and humor. Before I knew it, we’d been on the phone for two hours. Promising to get together in person soon, we’ll connect again before summer’s end. This time, I’ll be the one to reach out. Her rekindling of our friendship gave me courage.
As we concluded our call, she asked about my motivation to write. “Will I continue?”, she asked. My answer required no thought. “Yes – I feel it’s a daily duty, like soul work.” She seemed to like that answer and chuckled. “Only you”, she said, “Could take the thing most people hate and game your way through doing it anyhow, with delight.”
Later I thought about our chat. I love having afterglow moments when I feel I’ve connected well with someone who matters. It took me a minute to find it, but when I retrieved this quote – a favorite from C.S. Lewis – I thought it might’ve been a better answer to her question about whether or not I’ll continue to write:
“I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it. We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.”C.S. Lewis
Maybe that’s why I write. I’m a big walking-talking-conundrum of my own making and writing helps me put the pieces together. Sort of. I’m a self-declared Work in Progress.
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