Photo courtesy of GrowingBolder.org
Reconnecting with Some Special People
“As we age we look back and say, oh that haircut was great or awful, or man, I was thin then, look at my wild makeup or just wish I was that age again. Well along my long road I have learned a few things. If you are very, very lucky you will have 5 friends that you trust with your soul. If you are very very lucky you will have a spouse that loves you unconditionally even at your worst. If you are very very lucky you will have children that look at you and say yikes once in a while or look at you with love. If you are very lucky you trust your gut, listen to the wind (there are answers there), and skip in the rain, preen in the sun and L I V E”
—Pamela Patterson, 2017
No matter what we say about the pitfalls of social media, I am so thankful that Facebook has enabled me to reconnect with some very special friends and family members. What a blessing! This Christmas season, I want to share a little bit about what these friends mean to me.
Doug. I met Doug in high school when we were members of the same church youth group. Doug was and is a gifted musician. He plays classical guitar and has performed around the world. During high school I was somewhat of a groupie, following Doug and his band around to their gigs, developing a crush on this cute, somewhat goofy, sweet guy. Doug never returned my feelings, but I have happy memories of card games with him and other church friends – always laughing, always happy-go-lucky. Those were innocent days. Doug played guitar at my wedding in 1981 and visited a few times during the 1980’s. Then we kind of lost touch until he visited me this summer. Wow – the years melted away as I listened to him playing his guitar again. Doug is still cute, still somewhat goofy, and still sweet. He will always be very special to me – He helped me to learn about friendship, music, and acceptance – still important values to me.
Molly. Molly was everything I wasn’t in high school – pretty, perky, and popular. I admired her from afar but we were never friends. We traveled in different circles. Forty-five years later, we became re-acquainted over Facebook. This gutsy lady drove four hours to visit me this summer, trusting that all would be well! I’m not sure I would do that but I sure am glad she did! We had such fun trash-talking the President, sharing war stories from our lives, and appreciating the splendor of Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Assateague Island together. Molly’s smile lights up a room and she is disarmingly authentic. After a couple of days with her, I feel more daring, more self-confident, and more in awe of the world around me.
Sue. I would not have had the career I had if it hadn’t been for Sue’s confidence, loyalty, and support. Sue and I met when we both worked for a Navy contractor outside Washington, D.C. She went on to start her own government professional services company, navigating the political environment with instinct, as well as savvy. I worked for Sue on several organization development contracts and I always felt empowered to be the best I could be. After a thirty year absence, Sue and I reconnected with Facebook. Several personal and financial tragedies brought hardship to Sue, but she is persevering with faith and grace. Now is the time for me to step up for Sue – showing her the compassion that the mindful path teaches me. She will be moving closer to me next year and I look forward to giving her a big hug!
Maria, Klaus, and Mia. I was not aware that I have German cousins until Klaus sent me a Facebook message this summer. His mother, Maria, is the niece of my German grandfather. Their family has lived for decades in what was formerly East Germany. Maria feels tremendous gratitude to my grandparents for sending her family food and clothing during World War II. Maria, Klaus, and Klaus’ daughter, Mia, visited Jim and me this summer. It was their first trip to the U.S. and their first glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean. Hosting their visit was an emotional “reunion” for all of us. It brought me a new appreciation for my German ancestry and reminded me how important family connection is.
I have several more reunions planned for upcoming months. As someone who is over 60 and trying to live more mindfully, renewing these family and friend relationships is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how precious life is and continue to savor each joyful opportunity that connection brings. Happy Holidays!
Have Yourself a
Merry Little Christmas!
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on
our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yule-tide gay
From now on
our troubles will be miles away
Here were are as in olden days
happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
gather near to us once more
Through the years we all will be together
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now