I talked with an old friend today. We haven’t actually talked to each other in about eighteen years, but last year or so we reconnected through…facebook. For all that I hate about facebook, I can’t help but be amazed and a little grateful for the fact that I have found dozens, literally, of long lost friends through it.
While my friend and I haven’t talked, we have emailed each other and caught up as much as one can. Today though, for the first time in too many years, I heard his voice and it was..I can’t explain it…it was healing. I have moved too many times to count in my life, and have lost touch with more people than I care to admit. Today was an unexpected gift.
What was most lovely about the our conversation was that it was never awkward. It could have been. I wasn’t necessarily expecting it to be. But by the same token, I was surprised to find it so easy. And now, a few hours later, I am overcome with heartbreaking gratitude that I do not understand and cannot explain. I have felt that parts of me have been scattered around this globe; I have drifted, rather than rooted. There are moments, like this call, which still me, as if the wind has stopped and for a moment I could be held in one place.
My own memory is not very clear and accurate. Often I have found it easier to forget; the constant leaving wore heavy; the cost of it evident in unclear pictures and poor recall. I forget that others haven’t lived this way. And I am grateful for that. Today I live differently. It has taken me awhile to come to this place. Knowing nothing can be held, expecting everything to change in an instant, I make my home in the present moment. Give it now, listen well; hold and touch and smell all that is with you in this single frame of an instant. There is no memory or judgement there.
Today a single phone call from an old friend gave me comfort. The world is at once a small and immense place and though I may be scattered across it I am held together by the graciousness of others.
Yesterday one of the AWOLers returned to treatment. Seems he went for a long walk. I joked with him that he went for a “walkabout” like an Aboriginal youth. I am too hopeful sometimes believing that everyone gets as many chances as it takes. Recovery is hard always. I have never heard the tale of an easy path to sobriety, ever. So my heart is happy for this one young man, returning again, facing in the right direction for just this moment.
“Gamble everything for love.
If you are a true human being.
If not, leave this gathering.
Half-heartedness doesn’t reach into majesty.
You set out to find God, but then you keep
stopping for long periods at mean-spirited roadhouses.
Don’t wait any longer. Dive in the ocean, leave and let the
sea be you. Silent, absent, walking an empty road, all praise.”
Two kids AWOL’d at work today. They ran as if we would chase them. We don’t chase kids. We want them to stay, to figure out recovery for themselves. But often this doesn’t happen. Today it didn’t happen. Again.
I am sad and pissed. Pissed at parents who don’t parent, pissed at the ‘the village’ that only judges and doesn’t step in. And sad for two kids who have no plan other than running to no where in particular. I am hoping they stop running and walk back. We’d take them in and start all over again.
I wanted to find them, two needles in a large haystack, but there is no stopping the mind that is made up. The body just follows its urges; and some urges are too big. Some problems seem the same, insurmountable to a soul that has lived no other way. And sometimes, sadly, in the moment they are. Patience is not a constant companion, she is shy and unpredictable and needs to slowly build trust.
I know two men who suffered through difficult childhoods, like the boys I work with ..one found his way out in inexplicable ways and one just never has. I cannot explain why this so. When I go to work, I always hope that the boys in my charge will be like the first man. Today, they were like second.