Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ha. I should re-title my blog, Adventures in Solitude. At least this recent section of posts, perhaps. I'll not try figuring out why I'm writing about these solitary journeys--I'll simply assume they are meant for someone's encouragement.

There's a wonderful shady park down the street from our house--I've shown you autumn pictures from this park before and the old 1940's swimming pool, above, as well.

Well today, after driving Lennon to the vet (and coming away with something different--a good report), I dropped off Lennon at home and then picked up some lunch and drove to the park and had myself a merry little picnic, complete with the blanket (you might call it an afghan)we keep always in the car for such impromptu occasions, as well as my current books.

I spread the blanket beneath a huge maple tree and since we've dropped back down into sane temperatures, within the ceiling of shade, the breezy air felt perfect. I even removed my shoes and used one of them as a cupholder. I nibbled my lunch and gazed at the kids of every age along the gleaming white of the pool's outer rail (it all appeared so Happy Days from my blanket), and also the tinier children standing beneath the giant dripping mushroom in the kiddie pool area across the park.

But I also watched a mom with her two dripping-poneytailed daughters and their towels and paraphernalia walk past me on their way home and zip! Instantly I was hurtled back to my Nevada Years, the ones where I was so lonely I could--and did--taste it. When the boredom got especially bad I'd take Naomi's hand and hike over to the nearby park, appearing to her and everyone else as fine and contented as average people, but in reality, dying a little more each day due to the poison of loneliness. The kind of loneliness where you try squeezing from everyone outside of you what can only be found inside between you and God. You know, that haunting kind. I longed to race up to women in the park and ask, "Will you be my friend?" but I was way, way too shy for that.

Anyway, I remembered those dark, black Nevada Years and after comparing them to these current New York Years, well, my simple blue afghan picnic in the shade became a downright celebratory party. God has brought me not only thousands of miles away from those days, but light years, too. I am so not that same wimpy, whining person due to--finally--cooperating with God instead of insisting I just couldn't help it if Life was pushing and shoving me around and the ol' "how-can-anyone-be-happy-in-this-dreadful-Nevada-desert-anyway?" groanings.

And I continued to watch that mom and her two tiny girls until they reached the street and I hoped, prayed even, that she'd not entered that park attempting to relieve her heart's core loneliness the same way I used to so very long ago. For--at least with me--true, lasting companionship began only when I found it inside, first... and then, like a tree, its branches spread comforting shade all around me wherever I've stepped since then. And oh my, how things have changed. Everything, in fact.

Be encouraged.

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