During my morning walk, I came upon my neighbor Joe, a lanky older gentleman with a warm smile, an awkward gait and a plethora of knowledge about the goings-on in our complex. (More on the complexities of complex-dwelling for an introvert in posts to come.) As we made our way and routine niceties were out of the way, Joe cleared his throat and sort of randomly says, "Uh...yeah, I made it to church this Sunday." I smiled- in kind, at the sharing of information, in awkward embarrassment because I am not among the faith-filled, and lastly, in fear that the friendly talks that I've become quite fond of might somehow be thwarted if I don't play this right. (It should be known that I die inside a little each time socio politics, religion, race and education are presented for discussion.)
"Oh, did you, I say. How did it go? Excitedly, he tells me, "wonderfully, it was truly awesome". He said he was "moved" by the message and it really made him "feel great". Before I could vocalize my shared happiness at his experience, his tone and demeanor changed, just above a whisper, he leans in and says, "It's been two and a half years since I've been to church." He then winces, retreats, and I- lost for a moment turned slightly over my shoulder before realizing he was awaiting some sort of ...well, I dunno denouncement, admonishment, a verbal flogging? From me? Laughs. "I see", I say whilst nodding with my brows raised in intrigue.
Looking ahead, I mentally compute our speed of travel- which is nil, and the distance home, and proceed cautiously with, "Well, why not?" After a brief back-story about logistics and his own travails with the evil that is Divorce-asaurus Rex, he says "I just got away from it, and then it got to be so long to where I just got to feeling so bad about it that I thought I couldn't go back." I nodded, with the sides of my mouth down-turned, I find ASL has made my facial expressions more pronounced. As I catch myself doing this in lieu of speaking, I-a little past the cue, offer up a validating statement. "I see", I said, in a flat tone. I did see, and with much clarity.
Writing, and of course reading others' writing, is how I receive my message; it's how I make sense of the thoughts and feelings, the experiences, worries and fears that fill the space between my ears. Like my neighbor Joe, I suffered a few setbacks on the road I'd paved with good intentions and drifted woefully away from my place of peace. I too, felt as though I couldn't come back. I've maintained this blog since 2007, and through the years I have made incredible friendships, coming back has been hard, but staying away was harder. Two and a half years, four months...who's counting?