Thursday, September 25, 2014

No Small Miracle

I used to think of miracles as rare, supernatural phenomenon that defied the laws of science and nature, like the person who survives a shipwreck and is washed up on shore with hardly a scratch ... or the transforming of water into wine. But I see now that miracles happen around me everyday — if I'm willing to see them as such. Among the greatest miracles of my life are my relationships with my friends.
We met by chance more than 30 years ago.

When I consider how many events had to line up perfectly for me to have met some of the most important people in my life, I'm rendered rather ... speechless. (For those who know me, that's saying something — or rather, not saying something.) Millions of actions both subtle and overt had to occur for me to "happen" to meet any one of my friends. And when I consider all the actions that my parents and grandparents and great-great-grandparents had to take in order for me to end up perfectly at a certain place and time to say, meet Christina in Little Rock, or Janet in Knoxville, or Lesley in Atlanta, or Sandi in Birmingham, the expounding factors really boggle my mind. 

I've often wondered why in the world I've been given so many awesome friends. One might argue that I just make friends easily, but I don't think it's that simple. I mean, why would I manage to become close friends with certain people and not others? There are a lot of wonderful people in the world, many of whom I will never meet, let alone forge a friendship. Turns out spiritual guru Eckhart Tolle has an answer. “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness," he writes in his best-selling book A New Earth. "How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment." 

Apparently, the experience I need is to be surrounded by a lot of smart, funny, loving people. 

Recently, I spent a long weekend with a group of smart, funny, attractive, successful, loving people. They happen to be my six girlfriends from college. I've known these women for more than 30 years and being back among them is always a refreshing reminder of who I was and who I am. Our chance meeting on a college campus more than three decades ago was nothing short of miraculous. Somehow over the years, we've managed to not only stay in touch, but also remain close friends. Yes, there have been years when these get togethers have been difficult because I felt my life wasn't where it should be and I struggled seeing these friends who all seemed to have it all together. But now I see that even when my life was falling apart, the relationship we share was solid and abiding. No one judged me for my first — or even my second — divorce. Everyone was supportive when I resigned my job at Turner, and when I was downsized from Time. Being back among these women this year I particularly appreciated the walk-on-water phenomenon of our friendship.
Boys night out is a miracle too.

While I was lounging at the beach with my pals, another miracle was unfolding back home. I received evidence of it via text message on Saturday evening. My dear boyfriend Jason had taken Jack to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the Alabama game. Afterwards they went back home for copious hours of MineCraft. And although I often take this relationship for granted, it too is a miracle — and not a small one.

More than two years ago, Jason entered my life in the same manner in which all my friends entered my life: totally unexpected, and with instant rapport. We just "hit it off."

What I could never have imagined is that Jason would also hit it off with my (then) ten year old son. I've seen all the awful movies about kids who resent their parent's new romance. I resigned myself to the fact that, even though I might have a boyfriend at some point, our dating would be relegated to weekend outings that did not include my son. I never dreamed I would stumble into a relationship with a man who loved my son and whom my son respected and loved back. In fact, it was Jack's idea for Jason to move in with us over a year ago when the lease to his condo expired.

"It would just be mean to not let Jason come live with us, Mom!" Jack said.

Lest I add to the pile of mean-Mom infractions I'd already accrued by that point, I happily acquiesced. Only later did I come to see that this intermingling of lives was nothing short of parting the Red Sea or the curing of malignant cells. No amount of holy water in Lourdes could have manifested the little family I now enjoy. Often when we sit down for dinner in the evenings I am humbled by this gift. This what I always wanted and more — and yet, I could never have made this happen. Even my ex-husband loves Jason! No, this is not of my doing. Not by a long-shot. Lazarus jumping up from the dead's got nothing on this.

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