Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Visitng with Helen

We were connected from our very first meeting.

There are those kinds of people in our worlds... the ones with whom we feel an instant kinship, a soul-mating that tells us we've been connected forever.

Helen fit that description perfectly. She was principal at Marlton Middle School when I was hired as Public Information Officer for the Evesham Twp. School District and I, having heard of her no-nonsense approach to administration, felt more than a little trepidation the first time I stuck my head in her office doorway and asked for a minute of her time.

We've been sharing those "minutes" ever since, and when weeks or months go by without a chance to visit, I feel an emptiness that is like a part of me is missing.

Luckily, I caught her on Facebook last week and immediately snagged the chance to chat for a few exchanges. We set up a date for lunch at her house and I hoped nothing would get in the way of keeping the appointment.

When she was healthier, we met often, she and I and another soulmate, Carol. We solved the problems of the world, discussed politics heatedly (all three of us are committed, proud liberals), talked about religion and its place in our lives today (Helen was a nun for 13 years and her viewpoint on spirituality is unique and simply beautiful) and anything and everything that came to mind. Carol and I liked to regale her with funny stories about our grandchildren and she countered with tales of her many nieces, nephews and cousins. There was never a topic that could not be thoroughly aired.

Our lunch today was no different. Because Carol couldn't make it, I had the high privilege of being the only guest at her table. We started talking, taking a break for me to pick up lunch, from about 12:30 to 3:30, three hours that passed in the blink of an eye. There was much more to be said but Helen was tiring and I had a long drive home before dark.

Friends like Helen are precious. She has always been in my life even if I might not have known it at the time. In a previous existence, maybe, but surely always there. I love her compassion, her kindness, the way she relates to the world and people in it. I'm grateful she's still around and willing to share time with me whenever possible. I'm already looking forward to our next "lunch."

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