I made a new friend this week.
Pretty cool right?
Several weeks ago, an existing friend handed me a business card that belonged to one of her colleagues. You need to contact her she told me. I was kind of surprised, but I took down the woman’s email address and composed a draft email to send on later. I would get to it.
I never did.
I thought about getting in touch, but every time I did it was a fleeting moment, then I’d lose the thought again. Usually while driving.
Then last week at a group meditation, the woman sitting across from me began to speak about her newest project. Something triggered in my mind, and I realized that this was the very woman I’ve been meaning to finally send that email to. I introduced myself… and we’ve spent several hours together this week talking.
Yesterday she asked me to come to a place where she enjoyed walking.
We live near Saratoga Springs NY which is a beautiful area, rich in history and healing modalities. The waters in Saratoga are very therapeutic and full of healing minerals. One of our treasures is also the well known artists retreat area, Yaddo.
I’d never been to Yaddo before, so my new friend asked me to come with her and she’d be my tour guide. We walked around the grounds and she gave me all of the knowledge she had. The story of a husband and wife – Spencer and Katrina Trask – who owned this land, built a beautiful mansion and gardens, the woman who gave birth to 4 beautiful children at different times in her life, and suffered the loss when all 4 died. The oldest child made it to 10 years.
The grounds are spectacular. Full of huge old white pines, gorgeous trees, a spectacular rose garden and even a natural mineral water spring. There were many volunteers there yesterday working at uncovering the winters debris from on top of new buds. The grounds were coming back to life.
However… several times during our walk, I would feel a lump in my throat, pain in my sinus area … the sensation you get when you feel a wave of sadness, tears coming on. There was so much painful loss on this property. Katrina, the mother of all those children had endured an immense amount of tragedy in her life. Yet… through all of it, there was still this beautiful place. Flowers and trees, signs of life and death all across the property. Not to mention, Yaddo’s mission. It is a retreat for those who are creating. Artists, poets, writers, musicians, film-makers… come to this haven to sit in the silence, the serenity and channel their creativity. I admit, I sat for a good 20 minutes or so and composed my own little prose.
Even after all of the loss, the pain that this family had gone through, under all of it is the manifestation of creation and birth.
While my friend and I were walking slowly across the front lawn, staring up at the massive mansion that is now under construction, she said something that hit me.
“We have everything, but we have nothing.”
I’m in a weird place in my life right now… with a lot of uncertainty. I’m living in a temporary unfinished room with family, waiting for the next step in the direction toward establishing a home. Wherever that may be. At times I feel like I have nothing. I have no ideas where I’m going, no home to show for, barely even enough furniture to fill a house. I feel depleted. A lot of the times, I feel that I have no faith.
Then… the other side of that saying kicks in.
I do actually have everything. I have the things that are priceless. I have my daughters. I have my husband. I have family all around that loves us. I have laughter and a lot of happiness.
On Friday my grandmother spent a few hours baby sitting the girls. She was beside herself when we got to her house, laughing and pretending with them. Later that night there was a huge thunderstorm. When the rains died down, she took both girls out into the yard and they were dancing together on the wet deck. She told them that the rain water was so good for them.
And I remember, I have everything.
My husband and I went on an adventure with the girls yesterday… a good 4 hours total in the car. About an hour from home, we started playing “I spy with my little eye…” in the car. Even Felicity, who is a little over 2 years old, with her broken up baby talk English was playing with us. It made me smile. Beam actually. Laugh a lot.
Those moments when you feel everything, feel everyone. The moments when a house, a mansion, a new thing or an amazing job really don’t matter. They don’t matter because they are just things.
And things are replaceable.
Spencer and Katrina Trask had everything. They had prosperity, they had the land to build, the funds to build, they had the beautiful home and everything else you could imagine. They even had each other, for most of their lives. They had moments with their children… many years with them. But they also had major loss, like so many of us experience in life.
For me, yesterday, staring at that big mansion under construction was a moment to realize, that all the pretty things in the world can’t replace the sound of giggling in the back seat, or a soft kiss before bed from my partner. I may not have the things… but I do have everything.
It’s all put into perspective.