Friends Bearing Gifts

When a pleasant surprise is just what it purports to be, it is then that we have both pleasantness and the unexpected of the two joining forces: AKA “Spirituality”

TODAY (in particular)

Very early in my morning;

The economy and the heat of the day, neither of which came as a pleasant surprise, bore nothing less than the most solid of doldrums, to surround us. This proved to be a descriptive as opposed to a forecast of the morning hours, and the day that followed.

Television and newspapers did little to brighten or lighten tired spirits. I have long since given up on attempting to find cheer on the pages of almost all those representing themselves as objective clarions of the gospel.

In other words…if I were to allow it to be, the remaining remnants of the morning would undoubtedly segue into an afternoon of equal listless upheaval. Pleasantly behold!

10:00 AM and Cheryl Rhoads was at our doorstep. Well not exactly a doorstep. We live behind two massive gates, which manage to separate us from reality; our choice of course.

Cheryl and Catherine Kalmenson (my wife, and family’s dominant,) became friends some twenty-six years ago.

I always felt like I was an observer, on the outside looking in at their relationship, not out of envy. Since I cannot consciously tell a lie, I’ll cop to the real truth about being an outsider.

I couldn’t stand listening to the two of them practicing in an effort to enter the “Guinness World Book Of Records” for non stop conversation pertaining to world and local minutia. They could, and would systematically take turns reviewing their lives on this planet; each and every time going back to their beginnings in Chicago’s so called inner city. Actually it was Catherine who began in the inner city; Cheryl on the other hand coming from a much tidier starting point. Both were products of a strong Catholic belief, and fervor for an ungodly like telling of the truth; another of the things I admittedly had some trouble with. Not that I considered myself to be a liar, but rather I felt more comfortable often times not relaying the full story. But all that was the past. Things have changed a great deal, I thought.

I had eaten my breakfast early that morning in order to allow the two friends time alone to catch up. It had been three and a half years since the two of them were in person. Let the talks begin. Then, without warning a strange and unforeseen occurrence I found myself participating in their conversation. You know…this wasn’t half bad. I wondered, “Had they grown since the last time I was privy?” Certainly it couldn’t have been a case of my faculties diminishing.

Without thinking, there I was at the table with a coffee cup in my hand. I was actually listening to what Cheryl was saying. Don’t get me wrong; she was still the Cheryl from the old days; non-stop; a continual exposé of the entire world. Yet, I wondered, “What was different?” I wasn’t alone with my query. Out of the corner of an eye I noticed Cathy looking at the two of us, and enjoying it. I do believe Cathy was also noticing a change. Breaking bread and honest conversation does provide an unforeseen spirituality. Neither the economy, nor the heat of the day prevailed. The predicted doldrums never came to pass.

As Cheryl hugged us and said goodbye, without warning it became clear. I know Cathy and Cheryl recognized the change before I did. They have known each other for twenty-six years, but I have been part of their friendship almost from the start. Whether I knew it or not, I was always a part of it, albeit a distant part for most of the years.

It had been a pleasant morning, and a day later it remains as a pleasant thought. Cheryl was now duly acknowledged, whether I like it or not as “a friend who came bearing a gift” – Herself!

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