“Just as a bright sun causes ice cubes to melt, in the moments when we feel connected and kind, we create a warm environment that encourages others around us to relax and open up. Each time we widen the circle of caring—with a smile, a hug, a listening presence, a prayer—the ripples flow out endlessly.”
Tara Brach, Ph.D. (Radical Acceptance, p. 242)
I don't know about you, but I can get hard-core angry with the ways of the world. All the stresses of modern living seem to pile up like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and sooner or later, they crash down on my head. During the Friday afternoon trip out to Lake Martin, about two hours from Birmingham, the temperature was 91degrees, and traffic was terrible because of a golf tournament out that way. Liza got sick in the car because of the heat and the winding back road I took trying to avoid the traffic. By the time I got there, I was one frazzled woman.
Ann and Ellen has spent the day getting their “modern” appliances working again—internet and air conditioning, both knocked out by lightening. On top of that, they received a phone call saying that their boat had floated off its lift because of unusually high water, and was all the way across the lake. Mother Nature can still let you know who's boss regardless of how modern you may be. They retrieved the boat, happy that it had not been swamped or stolen, but they, too, were worn out.
A couple of days in that beautiful environment, however, washes all the tension away. Friends are the mother-load goldmine of modern life. We sat and talked, ate good food, walked and played with dogs, watched a movie, and commiserated about family and friends. Saturday night, while we enjoyed supper on the screen porch, rain fell so hard it blotted out the other side of the lake and shrouded the house in a veil of mist. Thankfully, it also cooled the air. It was heavenly. As I drove back to Birmingham yesterday afternoon, the golf tournament was in its final day, so traffic was still heavy, but it didn't bother me half as much. Kindness and common ground smooths out the rough edges, melts the ice cubes in the heart, and restores our hard-wiring to some semblance of sanity.
I hope you have friends like mine, and I hope you spend time with them as often as possible. They are the mooring that keeps our boat from floating away.
In the Spirit,