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Posts Tagged ‘journey of life’

Window to Let the Sunshine InIt never ceases to amaze me. It’s a feeling that I can’t quite explain, but that never fails to fill my heart with wonder.

Ken Gire, one of my favorite authors, in his book Windows of the Soul, writes of the windows that give us a glimpse into things that lie beyond the surface. In his unique, lyrical voice, Ken writes . . .

“We have all had moments when we’ve experienced something . . . we can’t quite explain, yet can’t explain away. Moments when God has touched our lives like a soft hand of morning sun reaching through our bedroom window, brushing over our eyes and waking us to something eternal.

At some of these windows, what we see offers simple a moment of insight, making us slower to judge and quicker to show understanding. At a few of them, though, what we see offers a word spoken to the very depths of who we are. It may be a word to rouse us from sleep and ready us for our life’s journey . . . It may be a word telling us who we are and why we are here and what is required of us at this particular juncture of our journey.

Or, in a startling, sun-drenched moment of grace, it may be a word telling us something we have longed all of our lives to hear – a word from God – a word so precious it would be worth the most arduous of climbs to hear the least audible of its echoes.

Windows of the soul is where we hear those words.

And where the journey begins.”

In the book, he writes about many windows – windows of dreams and of depression, windows of writing and of wilderness, windows of movies and of memory.

Another window – one that was not mentioned in Ken Gire’s book – is the window of friendship.

The dynamics of friendship have altered somewhat with the rise of social networks. It is simple to add hundreds of people to your list of friends with nothing more than a simple click.

I don’t doubt that real friendships exist within these parameters, and commenting back and forth on random happenings is not necessarily a bad thing. But I would venture to say that they seldom offer a glimpse into the soul.

Those are the places we often keep partitioned off, closed to others. Why we do so is anyone’s guess.

We have fears of being misunderstood, fears of being laughed at, or of standing alone as the only one who thinks or feels a certain way.

We keep the curtains closed. And so often we dwell in darkness.

Accepting a shadowy, colorless existence as a life.

Certain moments, however, let sunlight stream into the windows of the soul that we so seldom allow others to see.

I recently read a book about sight to one of my kids. It started that our eyes and brain capture over 60 images per second in the light. When it’s dark, they only capture about ten images per second.

I think the same could be said for the questions that lurk around in the darkness of the soul. We only grasp shadowy images – outlines, really.

And so many questions remain.

But when we let go of our fears and open our hearts to the illuminating love of a friend, the gloom dissipates.

Let the Sunshine InColor and light replace the darkness and shadows.

Suddenly the focus is clear, as details fill out the sketchy outlines.

Images start to make sense with all the brilliance of a new morning.

The curtains draw back to let the sunshine in.

The wonder that never ceases to amaze me is the gift of true friendship – a window to our own soul, and a bridge to another’s.

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One element made the “adjustment period” easier. She wasn’t an element actually; she was a friend.

Then, much as now, I could “get along” with just about everyone, but it was a rare person to whom I would open my heart or share my thoughts. With her, though, I knew my secrets were safe, and that my thoughts were not only understood, but even mirrored at times. You know, those times you think that you’re the only one who sees life a certain way and finally someone comes along who says, “that’s what I’ve always thought too”. Or you say something and they say, “that’s just what I was about to say.” It’s not just conversation; you feel comfortable with silence too. No awkwardness or, feeling that “I need to say something. It’s been quiet for too long.”

And of course there was the invariable finishing of each other’s sentences or adding to the other’s train of thought.

A year before I traveled to India, she thought it sounded like a great idea…for me. Three months before I made the journey, she wasn’t sure what her plans for the near future were. One month before I was to travel, she was already in India. I thought it somewhat ironic that I had been planning for about a year, and she spontaneously made it there in about a month. I didn’t mind though. Having her already there when I arrived added that element of stability and reassurance to my otherwise rather topsy-turvy sense of being at that point in my life.

That first evening, we took a walk around the neighborhood. I pretended not to be overly overwhelmed by the new sights, strange sounds and smells—both pleasant and on-the-opposite-end-of-the-spectrum. After all, I lived here for three years when I was young. Hadn’t I seen it all before?

As we headed to a little shop, she spoke of her adventures shopping over the past month, and the few phrases she had picked up so far.

“Hide and seek?” she said to a shopkeeper with her ever-present smile. I looked sideways at her questioningly. Did she just invite him to play a kid’s game? He didn’t seem too surprised as he turned to get something. He presented a package to her and she, in turn, handed it to me. Hide and seek—a brand of chocolate chip cookies. They might not have been chips ahoy, but they weren’t bad.

Those evening walks became a bit of a tradition, and when we didn’t feel like being a spectacle in the rural area we were living, we chose to sit and chat up on the roof. Our discussions were never superficial. To this day, I still can’t abide surface relationships and conversations. There’s gotta be a deeper side, some substance and it’s been a rare blessing to find a friend as deep as she.

View from the roof, trees and flowers

View from the roof

Unlike me, she had only a three-month visa. What I knew was going to be somewhat of a life journey for me I realized was a short trip for her. It was not long before I was to realize that would be the case in more ways than one.

Since she had arrived about a month before us, it seemed I had barely arrived when she began talking about going back to North America. She had plans to return to India though. We discussed so many plans that now it’s hard to remember what had just been great ideas, and what were actual concrete plans.

I made pineapple up-side-down cake the evening she left. It wasn’t a favorite of either of us. I just hadn’t yet discovered a single local shop that sold baking powder. We sat on the roof. I was quiet. These last couple months had brought so many changes. It sounds silly now, but a concern on my mind was, did she still consider me a close friend?

It was one of those times we sat in silence.

Somehow though, she knew what I was thinking. Over plates of juggery-sweetened cake, and under a darkening monochrome sky, she thanked me for being the best friend she ever had, and I knew she knew I felt exactly the same.

We headed back downstairs and said goodbye. She left carrying a single suitcase and a backpack. She always vowed that she would never own more than she could carry on her back and in one hand, leaving the other hand free to help someone else. After she left, I noticed the pile of things she had left of things had decided not to take with her, not to be bogged down with. She was always a traveler, just passing through. I sat at the foot of my bed, going through the items, feeling a hole in my heart bigger than the pile in front me. It felt like my adjustment stage in a new land was starting all over again.

Funny how a hundred people can come and go and not make much of an impression, and yet just one person can be in your life for but a moment by comparison, and change your life and perspectives forever.

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