While looking for something else, I found some photos I took almost three years ago that are a reminder of my journey to who I am today. That winter, I was having a hard time. Nothing – not my job, my relationship, or my health – was working, and I just couldn’t “push the river” any more. I was completely out of energy, and ideas…and the river was steadfast, unyeilding.
I called a dear friend, crying, and told her what was going on…vaguely, loosely, not wanting to really say the words. I’m sure she read between the lines, she’s very wise that way. A few days later, I was at the airport nearest her home, where she hugged me, looked me in the eyes, and summing up the situation, took me to a cozy restaurant for lunch.
Afterwards, we drove out of the city and through the desert to her home in the hills. I remember now that another friend of hers joined us that night for dinner. We had wine and home-made pizzas as we watched “Precious.” When I awoke the next morning, it had snowed, and the leaden grey sky warned of more to come. The whiteness everywhere seemed to clear my head by uncluttering my visual field. It made everything fresh. Tabula rasa.
One of the things I enjoy about being older, is that you learn how to be present for friends. You don’t just talk in order to fill the space and try to fix everything. You let their answers come. You hold the space for them. You don’t just tell them, “everything is going to be alright,” because you know by now that you don’t know that to be the case. Instead, you tell your friend that they will be alright…because you do know that to be the case. No matter what happens, they will get through it. You’ve got their back.
My friend held the space for me, she fed me well, and beautifully…her gift to me while I sorted through everything. We bundled up, and walked and talked in the arroyos as much as the weather allowed. She listened, and kept listening, as I realized that it was easy for me to walk away, and call it change. The time had finally come for me to stay put…and change myself. The hardest thing of all to do. I needed to make a decision to go toward something, rather than away from everything. And I had to stop saying, “that I had faith that the right thing would show up,” in order to compensate for my lack of plan, lack of direction, lack of desire.
I came back from our visit in the desert, honored to have been received as a valued friend-in-need. I came back having made a decision, and had set a goal and a timeline for accomplishing it. The wide-open space of the desert imparted onto me it’s quite strength, and a resolve that I’d felt only infrequently. A strength that allowed me to face my fear. A strength that my friend modeled for me while I was with her. Maybe that’s why she loves living out there…I can completely understand that! The changes I wanted to create have happened, are happening even now. They have been harder than I imagined, but they’ve also been even more rewarding than I could have imagined!