“…in the real world it may take you many years to find out that the stranger you talked to once for half an hour in the railroad station may have done more to point you to where your true homeland lies than your priest or your best friend or even your psychiatrist.”
~ Frederick Buechner,
as quoted by Anne Lamott in Bird By Bird
I read this quote by Anne Lamott just a few minutes ago. The book is a “why to” and “how to” book for writers. The reason I highlighted that passage that is in her chapter on character was that it hit home on another level first.
Beyond the joy, excitement, and surprise of how great life has become in the past year (that’s how long it’s been since we started working on our move from Ohio to Iowa), now that the moving part is over and the visiting part has started, I’m not sure if the hard parts are over or just getting started.
You know, the whole, making friends thing. “I would hate that” a friend from years ago told me on the phone the other night, and she is at the tippy top of my most friendly and extroverted peeps list.
Don’t get me wrong…over all even the friend making part of the process is going well. In my family of five, I’d say that two of us are fairly introverted, and the other three extroverted. When I take an objective look, we are all moving along in this department at a healthy pace.
The extroverts have been out there doing their gregarious thing which is paying off in the form of being less worried about joining three versus five different groups – it’s all good and layers of bestest friends seem to have potential in days to come as I see it. Half-court shots, new baseball hats, and lazy days of frisbee golf were beyond my imagination a year ago. Couldn’t of thunk it if I tried.
the normal people my more introverted son and I are doing just fine as well. We’ve scoped out our environments, our assessments are fully filed in our mental file cabinets, and what the heck, we’re accepting invites to coffee and pizza anyway. Why not, right?
For me, I’m fairly adjusted to the reality that for many friends and acquaintances that we left behind in Ohio, out of sight is out of mind. It’s just life. The first few times we went back for a visit we got some reactions like, “Huh? We thought you moved? Git along little doggies.”
Now, what I hear is “So you still like it out there? Good. We miss you, but we’re glad you are happy -that’s what counts. Don’t worry. Nothing has changed here…” (Which is true…we were in a Mayberry type of community, so no worries on corporate take over or closed highways).
I can choose to sulk and analyze this out of sight/out of mind thing, or just roll with it and be honest that the same is true on my end. I’m already forgetting names, connections, scuttlebutt, and am getting mixed up on big events like divorce and illness and new-found love. That’s me though…I’m the know the forest not the trees person, so it fits. But, even if I was a detail person…the energy that it has taken to adjust to our new surroundings would have me mixing up the oaks and pines on occasion I’m sure.
So, Forgiveness Friday. It’s the week after Easter, and that quote from Buechner fits just right, as this is the week that we hear readings about a lot of walking and talking with the resurrected Christ. Indeed, at this point in the Gospel story, strangers on the journey become a source of truth and clarity with as much validity as the original disciples.
Who knows, maybe strangers are more objective and therefore quite wise.
How interesting that mourning, and fear, and surprising moments of joy get all jumbled during these type of days and phases of life.
‘Scarcely take it in sometimes, you know?