This was the year when I developed a friendship with God. This was the year when I let people in.

I am a solitary, contemplative person. I have always had a small circle of women friends – a handful, five, eight, at a time – women whom I’ve cherished but have kept at a discrete distance. (And stopping to wonder whether I have chosen the incorrect form of discrete, discreet??? is just a distraction, so forgive it, if it’s wrong.)

Then, this year, as my heart was cracking open, as I was being scourged with a love so rich, so thick and hot and sacred, everything and everyone in my life also, came rushing in. After years of holding love at arm’s length, I saw – and I felt – what real love looks like, feels like, is.

The experience was crushingly painful – burning and visceral; it was body-centered, actual, grounded.

It was real.

I saw, with eyes that had not seen, the priceless beauty of each individual soul of each woman – and a few men – whose hearts happened to have linked up with mine somewhere along the way.

In a rush, I remembered:

  • the countless cups of tea, and the stories we shared – and wrote – as we sipped them.
  • the times when they kindly didn’t tell me the truth
  • the times when they, equally kindly, did and though it stung, it changed my life
  • the wisdom, the giggle fits, the text messages when my mother collapsed
  • the rush to NYC to help, to visit, to take me out to lunch
  • the knowing me ‘then’ and ‘when’ and reminding me, when I need it, who I was, and still am
  • the knowing who I could be, who I will be, and gently pushing me up the mountain
  • the yoga classes, sleep-overs, hand squeezes, and rueful smiles

Their beauty, grace and their love dissolved me, leaving me jelly-limbed, breathless, taken apart.

They didn’t mind – they pulled out the combs and compacts that they, always more prepared than I, always carry; they straightened my clothing, smoothed my hair, helped me reapply my lipstick –

what I mean is, they put me back together

They changed me – by letting me change – and loving me, as they always have, any wacky way I turn out to be.

PS This goes for sisters, daughter, son and husband, too.

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