My daughter and I go to Big Sur every February. We hike and lounge and generally have a fantastic time. It is something I look forward to every year. Odd things happen also...
We always drive home down Pacific Coast Highway. It takes all day to get home but it is worth it. So beautiful and it has come to be something I need to soak in every year. To return to the same place and revisit myself, a year older and different, it provides me perspective on where I am, who I have been and where I still need work.
We always stop at Nepenthe in Big Sur. It is a bit touristy but worth fighting the crowds for the view. We were looking to have lunch but it was crowded and it turns out that they don’t allow dogs. I ran inside to use the services while my daughter and dog sat outside on a bench. When I returned, a man was taking their photograph. I was alarmed at first...why was this man taking my child’s photo? But when he spoke, I could immediately tell that he was a kind person and no threat to us. So, at his request, I sat down and allowed him to take our photo. He gave me his card and told me that if I would email him, he would give me a copy. I said I would. As we were parting, his wife walked up and did not seem shocked by the whole encounter. She was not alarmed that her husband was talking to a younger woman and her child. She smiled warmly as one could tell was her way and then gently began to move the man on. We said goodbye and I mostly forgot about the whole exchange.
I placed the man’s business card in my purse and promptly forgot about emailing him. To my surprise, a few days later, a photo of myself, my daughter and dog surfaced on social media, the man trying to find us so that the photos could be reunited with its subjects. I emailed him and with that act began a friendship that spans distance, age and time.
David found my blog online as well and subscribed. We have begun a dialog over the last few months, mostly where he reads what I write and then encourages me to continue to write, to write a book and also comments on my struggles with intimacy and love. He has become this kind, thoughtful soul in my life where I can look for a supportive word and relational wisdom. It is an unlikely friendship for sure...but he has become a friend nonetheless.
He has been married four times. And only in this last marriage did he come to find himself. This woman, this wife, the perfect other half for him. He adores her, loves her and is almost mesmerized by her character and ability to love him for who he is, even when that person is hard to love. From his description, they have what we all seek. Two people who love each other and seek to understand each other even when the people who show up for the marriage are in less than stellar form.
Through the course of our correspondence, he tells me about his life. His successes, his failures. He shares with me what he has learned in the process of living, loving and losing. There is a 23 year difference in our age so he has the upper hand when it comes to experience. He has perspective that I lack. I appreciate his encouragement to keep writing and to keep loving. He holding out for me a beacon that love comes in many forms along a life and a heart can find a home in the chest of another.
David and my conversations have become an ongoing dialogue, one I believe sent to me to help me keep the faith in love and romance and, in myself, when I falter, which is often. I have come to love this friend who is really a stranger, our contact brief but deep.
Today David goes under the knife to remove cancer that has invaded his body. So at 9 am today, can we all take a moment to hold a good thought for David. Also for Andrea who will wait nervously for her best friend and lover to be returned to her cancer free. I send my love to them both. They are becoming my benchmark for love today...having both lived a great portion of their life without this great love but now embodying for me hope for us all. Through David’s words and honesty about himself and how he has come to know himself, I can see that the journey into oneself doesn’t promise the person of your dreams but instead makes finding that person and being open to them when they arrive more possible.
As you all are aware, I love, love. I am deeply touched by this man who had the audacity to reach outside convention and snap a few pictures of a beautiful young girl and her dog on a bench on the side of mountain in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. He taking himself and his curiosity about life with him wherever he goes. And being unafraid to aim his lens directly at life despite what people might say or think. And it was with this sincerity and authenticity that he disarmed a defensive mother and took entrance to my life. And because I let this stranger in, my life is richer and more meaningful than it was before his arrival.
And that seems to be a lesson I keep getting:
What comes, allow
What leaves, let go
What remains, let in
What is obscured, don’t worry about, time will take care of that on its own.
Sometimes the universe brings you the most amazing gifts which come as strangers and result in friendship. Fare thee well today David. I am pulling for you and sending love and light your way. Thank you for your friendship and being unafraid to be yourself. You are my teacher and I am humbled by your grace.