How I spend my time is often measured by the moments when the inner chamber door of my heart opens and gratitude pours out of it like water from a break in the dam. There are a very few people who can cause this to occur. That point where you are just sitting, and all of a sudden, or slowly and surely, you begin to experience every essence of what is around you. How the sun feels through the restaurant window, how the food tastes, the hum of computers, the chit-chat of other patrons, footsteps across the wood floors, ice chinking against the glass. All these things come to a pitch and you look across from you and see a friend. And more than that, someone that God has given you. For the moment, the hour or the day. I get giddy inside, and all sorts of amazed thoughts bubble up inside of me. For just that moment, I get it. I realize that I was supposed to be here, for this, across from this person, realizing how important they are. Knowing that every conversation we've had has become part of me, part of what I know about the world and life. Comprehending that I have shared space with someone who is so significant and necessary to my life and habitat. The next instant, I see how fleeting it all is, how fragile. And I wish for the moments to stretch out, and they do. Just far enough for me to really see them, jot them down in my memory and know that I will re-live them someday when I need to, I will remember them when the time comes.
If I count them up, there will never have been enough days with my friend Ruth Jean. I won't know enough about the birds that she has loved, or the beautiful baked items that she has created or the walks she made in the woods around her childhood home. I won't see her wicked grin or sparkling eyes enough to render in them the fine details of wisdom and creative genius that dwell there. There won't be enough times of hearing her laugh, or listening to her speak of loved ones. There won't be a crossword puzzle that doesn't paint for me the picture of her blonde hair bent over the page, pen scurrying away with black printed letters put neatly into numbered spaces. I'll not know enough times that she chose carefully words that she felt mattered, or made wonderful outbursts of frivolity or humorous tales.
There are people that you know this about, pretty much as soon as you meet them. And you wonder why it seems that they will never quite know this about themselves. There is a shelf in my heart that belongs to my friend and on it rests the most precious collection. Today, I've added a few more things. In these myriad ways, my cup runneth over.