Every now and then I have a moment when I forget I am in Seattle. I’ll stop and remind myself that the Puget Sound is my home, or that “Pacific Northwest” is my commonplace, or even that “WA” instead of “IA” is what I put on my return address.
It’s not that I’m day dreaming, or that I’m somehow confusing the towering mountains for the fields and horizons of the Midwest, or parading evergreen forests for maple or oak trees, or the grey skies for the unending sunsets of a wide stretching Indian Summer’s evening…
Every now and then I have a moment when I’m sitting with someone or a group—and I have to remind myself where I am. I stop myself mid thought, mid-sentence, mid conversation and think—wait… There’s something inside of me for a brief minute that feels like—home.
Not home in the physical sense—it definitely does not look or smell or sound the same way. Not home in the emotional sense with parents and siblings or relatives… home in a way I can’t describe. Home in a way that makes me feel like ‘you and I’ sitting here together—you and I belong here together.
It’s a brief moment that takes me away from myself, and opens me up to see you for all of you. It’s a movement of wind through the trees that carries me beyond my judgments or preconceived notions of you, my expectations for our relationship, or my focus on my own agenda… and in a moment I can see you for you. I can hear your story as if up until that point it had been written in another language, and now, I am hearing it in my mother tongue for the first time. I can hear the nuances, the way your voice carries itself up and down when you get excited, when you are upset, or when you talk about that special person…
And I am drawn, captivated, enthralled with this story. I want to know from where it comes, how long it has been waiting to come to the surface, waiting for air time, waiting for me to be ready to listen.
And it’s not necessarily that I enjoy it, or love it, or think it is the best story I’ve ever heard… but I am hearing it for the first time, and I can’t help but listen, completely listen.
And for whatever reason, in this moment, in this space—whether it’s physical, emotional, spiritual, or imaginary…for one fleeting breath, you and I are home. And it feels right.
Of course, once I have the presence of mind, awareness of the spirit or the common sense to realize what is going on—it’s over. I’ve ushered you out the door and back into your world. I’ve retreated back into my own, and I go on looking at you through a looking glass, separated, no longer as close as we were—for that one, very short breath.
Part of me wants to think this is the stuff of eternity; when you cannot accurately separate time and space and person from person. Time and space cease to exist or put limits and boundaries on your mind. My humanity is opened up by yours, and it’s almost as if your humanity opens up to me and mine.
I see you—as fully human, not just an “other,” but I see something of myself in you, and I find something of you inside me. I am unable to change you, persuade you, or break you; even if in the past I have searched for ways to do so. I find myself in this moment I cannot destroy you; in this moment, I no longer want to.
And I love you. I know that sounds ridiculous to say, but I do. If love is the ‘interplay of awe and gratitude’ than I truly do love you. I can see you and hear you for the first time, and I am in awe that I have been unable to hear or see you until now. And I am grateful for this moment. Ever so grateful.
I never thought I could love you. Again, I know that is ridiculous to say; but you have hurt me in the past, and I you. You have dismissed me and I have forgotten you. You cannot even remember my name all of the time, and I am bored by these games.
Forgive me, dear one. For my folly is in thinking I am better, my error is in supposing we are more different than we are the same. I cannot say we have completed this quarrel, I cannot say, “We shall never return here again.” We will, probably very soon…probably very soon. Forgive me, for I will have to walk this road many times to come. I will have to utter these same thoughts and apologies over and over.
But you took me home, and I think I took you home. Or maybe, we walked home together. Either way, I forgot the things that separate us. And it was good to be with you. And it was well within me.
It was well within me.