My dear friend and neighbor Judith is 97 years young. She’s brilliant, an accomplished painter, dancer, and an amazing storyteller. She has magnificent tales of her 1930’s childhood, and of moving to Chicago and traveling South America alone in the 1940’s. I’ve heard stories of her bohemian artist days in New York and watching Castro’s victory parade pour through Havana in 1959, prompting her and her husbands’ quick departure from Cuba.
Judith is a vibrant and social woman. After hip surgery this spring, she is back to walking an hour every morning. She attends dance camps and classes and participates in local art shows. She founded and invited me as a member of her meditation and intention group. Last year, she received four “YES” votes for her ballroom dancing on America’s Got Talent and literally made Sofía Vergara’s jaw drop.
(Judith wows America’s Got Talent)
Although we are from different generations, our souls don’t know the difference. We were born in the same midwestern city, and though divided by eras, my first home was less than 2 blocks from hers. We walked the same streets, graduated from the same University many miles from where we both were raised. We have both adventured on many continents in different ways and then settled into neighborly life once again, 1,271 miles away from where we started, just across the street from one another.
As I consider the miraculous machinations of fate that transpired for she and I to live parallel lives separated by decades, then find one another at this exact point in time in the exact same place on the planet, I know that we were destined to be friends.
Judith uses social media sparingly and doesn’t always hear the phone. She answers emails but texting is not her favorite form of communication. When I knock on her door, I sometimes have to knock again before she hears me. But she answers with joy and intention, and our visits always lift me up.
(Welcome home Judith with Brigitte and neighbor Margie)
As I reflect on our friendship, I think of how easy it could be for us to miss the opportunity of friendship with each other in this world. I could call a few times and when she didn’t answer, presume she wasn’t interested in friendship. After a few unanswered texts, I could presume the same. Or I could give up after knocking only once and she’d never know I’d been at her door. But the palpable energy of friendship between us and the driving force of fate simply wouldn’t allow for that. It’s with deep gratitude that I acknowledge so many places of serendipity that have led me to friendship with this amazing woman.
But I wonder, how often do we miss a similar opportunity? How often do the miracles of the Universe go unnoticed because we lack the patience to follow through? Or lack the solitude to hear the whisperings that might guide us?
Followers of faith understand that prayer is a two-way street. To live a sacred life, it’s more important to listen for the answers than to speak. The messages can feel muddled or whispered so quietly they’re hard to hear. Then again, the speed and sheer volume of life today can be overwhelmingly loud, and we may mistake the loudest message for truth.
Like most business owners, we try to run our decisions and planning through that lens of truth. Are we hearing whisperings of truth and gentle nudges from our loyal friends? Does that particularly difficult customer we all meet occasionally have genuine wisdom to share? Sometimes the truth is hard to hear, and we try to keep our ears and our minds open always.
We’ve learned that fate doesn’t always knock twice, and we’re committed to nurturing the friendship that providence has offered with you. We value you and your opinions and respectfully request the favor of telling us what we’re doing right or where we can do it better.
Whether you are a long-time loyal or a new-found friend, we welcome the opportunity to hear your thoughts. Do our fabrics make you say, ahhhh? Do you value our commitment to Oeko-Tex standards in your loungewear? Do we answer your phone calls and emails quickly? Do you feel love when your Faceplant package is delivered? What other types of products would you like to see from us and how can we better share our steadfast devotion to your ‘Good Night’?
If Miss Judith has taught me anything, it is the value of friendship. I am grateful beyond measure to the maker of this extraordinary universe who has deemed me worthy of such a blessing and I vow to never squander this priceless gift.