The sun sparkled on the ripples of Kempenfelt Bay as though it were tickling the surface of the water and the water was giggling back. It was warm exchange between two gifts from God on that morning: the water and the sun. Watching the interactions was soothing. It was calming. I breathed in deeply. I paused. I realized, I “could” breathe again. I hadn’t even realized how empty I had been feeling until I was being filled. Sometimes, you don’t appreciate how much you need something until you get it. I was thirsty. I guess I had been very thirsty and this moment filled my cup, quenched my soul, and grounded me. The wind joined in the sport to join the water and the sun in their early frolic and game. How delightful. How whimsical. It was light in my world of heavy.
I remembered this feeling when I sat with my Mom for early morning coffee on her 10th floor balcony. She and I would sit in the early morning sun together facing the water to watch the sailboats make their way from one side of the bay to the other. Across the smooth surface they would dance. I think it was more like a ballet more than anything else. Their movements were slow and strong, decided and steady. From a distance, it was impossible to tell that anyone was actually directing the boats. Yet, we knew there was someone sailing them. On that balcony, Mom and I shared our feelings, our dreams, our fears. She was my Mom, though, and took care of all my worries for me. I gave her my cares and responsibilities and she took on the weight of them. I left them with her. She filled my soul. I had been thirsty and she gave me water. She lightened my load and grounded me with her sensibility. We spoke the same language, enjoyed the same food, and laughed at the same jokes. We were alike. She was my culture and I was of hers. I miss that.
I didn’t even know I missed that until I visited a dear friend of mine this morning who also happens to have a beautiful balcony that overlooks the water. I found myself looking out to the boats with Thelma the same way my Mom and I used to. It was very familiar. I felt so comforted to be there with my friend. I felt like I was home. It had been a very long time since I had been home and I didn’t even know I had been home-sick. There is something to be said about returning to a culture with which you have such a strong affiliation. Thelma, my Mom, and I all spoke the same heart language. We all hugged the same way. We cried the same way. We laughed, danced, and shared our joys the same way. I didn’t know I was even thirsty, but Thelma filled me up. We spoke from our hearts without fear of judgement. We spoke with kindness and tenderness and love. We shared moments in our lives that stretched back more than 20 years. We have a history. We talked about the future. We talked about the trees, about editing our closets, and about dogs.
Yes, I was home. I felt that I had come home. How I miss being able to do that. I look at my friends whose parents are still alive and think how lucky they are to be able to go “home”. Home is family. It is a place to hang your hat and unburden your soul. It is a place of comfort and solace. It is a place to replenish the soul and the body.
How lucky am I to have this special friend who can play this role in my life? And even better, I know that she feels the same way about me. How lucky am I that she lives in this magical place where we can look from the balcony and watch the wind and the water play as I had done with my own Mom so many years ago? Oh, the joy of the water! Oh, the joy of friendship!
I am blessed. I needed to go “home” this morning and I did. And then, I could go home to be a better person for my family. My soul was nurtured so that I could nurture others. My cup was filled so that I could fill the others. I found peace so that I could help others find their peace.
It was warm exchange between two friends this morning. This friendship is indeed a gift from God.