This past spring, I spent four days with four women and discovered the frayed threads that bind us. We most likely would have never met and yet meeting them was a saving grace. I am assured they felt the same. I miss them and worry about them.
Worry is what led to our meeting. We all arrived at the same place for various reasons. It started by one inviting me to sit at her table during dinner. A gesture I appreciated beyond measure as the first meal in a strange place with strangers is daunting.
It soon became apparent that she was older than me. A kind-hearted woman who had years of experiences who was willing to share and for once I was not the one to keep the conversation flowing. I listened more than I ever had. I enjoyed her stories and willingness to entertain her quiet fellow table mate. A woman of few words who I began to notice was the older woman’s acquaintance, yet again kind and welcoming towards me as she helped me fill out menu selections for our next meal quietly accepting me into the fold.
It went like that for a day or two and then we added a fourth. A character that actually made the experience fun. She was loud at times, but the right times, funny and even though in pain helped us all make the best of it.
I look back and know it made all the difference for the rest of us having her bright energy. She had the heaviest cross to bear as time revealed, but she practiced at it. I found myself seeing the threads that bound us all and not the ones that didn’t. We all did as we supported one another through workshop experiences and exercise classes. We did art projects and played games, invented our own games all to pass the time. We were a collective unit and as other women entered the circle they felt it too; our warm older experienced souls trying to create a supportive environment.
Safe I guess you could say. We all felt safe with one another in this short four day experience that seemed to last for days on end. It was the breeze we all missed the most as we could see a beautiful view and trees swaying, but could not feel or smell the air. It was a cruel reminder that the windows did not open.
One of many doors locked behind the workers and a paper garbage bag was the only room decoration. There were windows and I could see trees and flowers. The main sitting area had mountain views so all in all we were lucky. I became fond of the rocking chairs and as I sit on my deck now in my own it brings me back to those four days and the women I shared the time with.
The day we left the dynamic was changing; I do not think it would have stayed the same and restlessness would have overtaken the tranquility we were trying to achieve. The challenges that laid before each of us started to hit us as we waited to depart. The calm started to unravel a bit and new people began to join the main lounge area.
One of us that was not leaving; as noises began to increase and I realized she would be left behind I grabbed her hand so tightly and just held it for a minute. I could not fix her situation, but for the kindness she showed me I wanted her to know that I understood she was scared and sad being the one left behind.
I knew she would continue to be kind and she would be ok, but not today. It would take time. Time stands still in a place like that and the world keeps going. It is interesting to me that you can adapt to any situation you are placed in and you find the threads that bind you to other people. I think through how it happened and why it happened the way it did. I know it could have been the worst experience of my life and I have had a few, yet it wasn’t because of these women. It was a bonding experience with people you will not keep in touch with yet if I saw any of them I would be happy to know they are good, safe and working through challenges.
We are not alone in this world and we can ask for help from time to time to have the strength to face what life has coming for us. We need to understand that we may not have all the answers sometimes; and we may not solve each challenge in order, but if we reach out and start to face them or support others facing them – the challenges seem smaller. Today ask yourself where you need some support and go get it, ask for it or give it to someone in need of it today.
Thank you to the women I met and I hope our paths cross again.
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