There are encounters that delight. Often we expend too much of life’s time and energy gain material things, when we should error on the side of filling our lives with relationships, exchanges, encounters and experiences.
“All real living is meeting.”
~ Martin Buber (1878-1965), Jewish philosopher mystic.
We live in isolation from nearly all of our dearest friends. It seems they are anywhere from two hours, two countries, or even two continents away from us. Our closest are in the city, an hour and fifty minute drive away.
I will be honest, it used to bother at one point a decade ago. We would see friends, genuine and true, if we drove to Charlottetown. But few ever made the effort to come where we are.
In West Prince we joke that people in Charlottetown think there is nothing past Summerside and that the distance from Charlottetown to West Prince is twice as long as it is from West Prince to Charlottetown. Meaning Charlottetown folks talk like coming this way is a long and laborious dogsled mushing run to the North Pole. Yet, they expect us to show up for any little thing, meeting, or event on a drop of the hat in Charlottetown as if only a miniscule effort is required on our part.
I get it! It is what it is. We have to learn to enjoy relationships for what they are, and avoid manhandling them into what we want them to be. We enjoy every opportunity for connection, for what it is, and how it unfolds. This mindset really adds much joy to our lives.
So, please, do not read that I am unappreciative of your efforts to connect with us in the ways we do, which is unique is to each relationship we have. That too is a beautiful variety thing, is it not?
However, we do have this one couple who does come to visit on our turf at various times though the year, staying the weekend even. I realize that it takes a lot of effort to pack for a weekend thing, staying the night in a strange bed and hauling a bag is annoying when most of us require more down time on a weekend. So the effort is appreciated immensely.
However, we have also started this very spontaneous and enjoyable thing.
Late Saturday night, or in the early Sunday mornings, we will receive a spontaneous messenger “Bing” asking if we would like to meet in Summerside. We have rarely turned down such a kind gift. But they are special 😉 so we make an effort.
I can honesty say it has never been a drudgery to go and be with them, not even once.
We always begin at Samuel’s Cafe, where we chat, tell stories, solve the worlds problems, discuss things we have been reading, learning, and growing into. But it does not end there. We then venture out for a small hike near by, more conversations, and it being Sunday, we often share Holy Communion on the waterfront. Sometimes we split up, the guys in one car, the ladies in the other, and the sexes do their own thing. We join back together when we are ready. It usually ends around mid-afternoon, after a steak at Gentleman Jim’s Restaurant. Then we go our ways.
“The second journey begins when we know we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the morning program. We are aware that we only have a limited amount of time left to accomplish that which is really important—and that awareness illumines for us what really matters, what really counts. This conviction provides a new center.”
(Brennon Manning. Ragamuffin Gospel. Pg 164)
A rare time, only we guys meet half way, when the ladies are tied up with other life things.
Just an awesome time, either way.
My wife and I often arrive at Samuel’s a little early to secure a table, and we simply read or chat together. She often will sketch out little artsy projects she is in the process of doing.
It is simply a nice, delightful, easy, enjoyable time where neither couple arrives with a planned agenda, or a rigid set of expectations. We just “Be” together.
Before our last encounter, my wife and I commented to each other how nice it is to feel wanted. We really appreciate this couple extending this gift of presence to us. Our unscripted meetings have been a joy. I think Samuel’s has become a sacred space for us both.
“Persons rarely become present where they are not heartily wanted. Certainly that is true for you and me. We prefer to be wanted, warmly wanted, before we reveal our souls or even come to a party.” ~ Dallas Willard. The Divine Conspiracy
Brennan Manning asked,
“Is there anyone I can level with? Anyone I dare tell that I am benevolent and malevolent, chaste and randy, compassionate and vindictive, selfless and selfish, that beneath my brave words lives a frightened child, that I dabble in religion and pornography, that I have blackened a friend’s character, betrayed a trust, violated a confidence, that I am tolerant and thoughtful, a bigot and a blowhard, that I hate hard rock?” (Brennan Manning. Abba’s Child)
The answer for us, now, is yes.
Thank you for the gift of presence.