The dew of little things
“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”― Kahlil Gibran
I have always appreciated this particular passage from Gibran’s work, because it has proven true in my own life for as long as I can remember. Whether one is navigating a particularly difficult phase of life, or enjoying relatively happy years, no grand event or special occasion can surpass the simple pleasure of a heart-to-heart chat with a trusted and reliable friend. During times of grief and stress, such everyday sharing is an anchor for the soul.
Jena and I first connected through this blog. We quickly found that we shared much in common, including our faith, our love of writing in general and poetry in particular, and a special fondness for all things related to tea. Jena also is a gifted visual artist who takes the time to share some of her work with me via our digital correspondence, and we occasionally swap videos via Marco Polo, along with corresponding by postal mail.
Despite her exceptionally busy life as a teacher, writer, artist, wife, sister, daughter, and various leadership roles related to her professional talents, she manages to stay in close touch, encouraging me in countless thoughtful ways. She makes the effort to initiate contact with me at least as often as I reach out to her, so I don’t feel as if I’m the only one who has anything to gain from the friendship. There’s a nice reciprocity to our exchanges, and that’s a trait that has been especially important to me in the years since Jeff’s death, when I’ve sometimes grown resentful of having to be the one doing all the asking of others.
Remarkably, though Jena lives in faraway Alaska, we have managed to be together in person once every year for the past three years, and even took a trip together. As others who connected by blogging have observed, when we get together face-to-face it is as if we have always known each other, because the foundation of the friendship is already in place. I guess that love of writing pays unexpected dividends sometimes!
I am so grateful that, whenever Jena is planning to come to the eastern USA for business reasons, she gives me plenty of notice so that we can plan times and places to get together. Our first such meeting came during a particularly difficult time after Jeff’s death, when it appeared that Matt was going to lose all of his disability services and supports, and I had no idea how we would cope.
“Refreshed” is a perfect description for how I felt after being able to meet Jena face to face for the first time, to chat and laugh and drink tea together in person after years of corresponding. The simple joy of sitting in a cafe together was a balm for all the trials and worries and grief. Sometimes, a little bit of lighthearted fun can go a long way to defeating despair.
Do you have friends who share their lives with you on a regular basis, adding to your joy and pulling you away from whatever might be troubling you? If so, I hope that you will stay close to them over the years. The investment of time in friendship involves the discipline of being there for another person, even when you might be busy or simply not in the mood. But whatever you sow in the garden of friendship, you will reap tenfold as your enduring affection will be repaid abundantly in ways you cannot now foresee.