In the past few months of sculpting a relationship in the midst of chaos, STG has said to me more than once that the stuff I'm dealing with is just the stuff I'm dealing with, and not who I am. Or something to that effect. It might not sound like a lot, but it's so easy to internalise life, to make it personal, that it's meant the world to me to have him see something in me besides my circumstances. And, it's given me the perspective to deal with my circumstances as circumstances rather than personal failings.
Tonight I had a fabulous evening catching up with three friends I haven't seen in far too long. Two of the visits happened at a business event and were far too short, too public and too incomplete. But they were enough to share the main points of our winters. Two other winters that were too long and filled with too much sadness. Two fathers lost - suddenly or otherwise - and two sons who are sometimes fine until someone who cares asks. Who are moving on with their not-the-same lives. Who are honouring their fathers by being the sons and dads they know to be.
I left those conversations to have a third, with Mrs. F who I haven't seen in 10 months even though, as we just discovered, it's less than a 5 minute walk from her home to mine. And in the unfolding of our evening, with tea and rice crackers (for me) and Danish butter cookies (for her) to mark the path, we shared our highlights and lowlights of the past year. Dreams that are building. Dreams that are on hold. Dreams that are being re-imagined.
They were all great conversations. Easy, despite the content, because sharing our burdens and our joys is what friends do. It's what people do.
And the morale of the whole story, the lesson from all the conversations, is that we all have sh*t. Nobody's is bigger or harder or more interesting or less important. We all have sh*t ... and magic ... in just the right balance to get the lesson designed for us.
The other lesson might be not to let your friendships languish for months on end. But we'll see if that lesson has been learned. :)