Their story is pretty beautiful. I’m not sure exactly what their story is, and yet small details tell me what I need to know to fill in the blanks, and I know that it’s pretty beautiful.
Six women gathered around a tiny table for two in a coffee shop. They’re laughing and giggling and every time a new one comes in, the rest jump up and form a haphazard, jumbly line to hug her. They listen intently, one person talking at a time and the rest of them nodding, sometimes smiling and sometimes looking sympathetic, but always listening. And suddenly, all of them are laughing and talking at once. One is smacking the table and laughing so loud it rings through the coffee shop, and I know that she’s Rachel. And then it dawns on me, when my brain automatically calls this gregarious woman I’ve never met Rachel.
I know their story is beautiful because it is so similar to mine. It has so many of my own memories attached to it, floating around it, weaving throughout it. It reminds me of the night that we all went out to eat before Aubrey left for Tanzania. Talking and listening and laughter and anxiousness and missing and love. There are so many bittersweet somethings in this gathering of hearts, and I find myself waiting for “Don’t Stop Believing” to start playing over the speakers, and for these six girls to start singing at the top of their lungs in front of God and a whole room full of people who think they must be drunk or crazy when they are, in fact, neither.
I don’t know these lovely women, or their stories. But I’d be willing to bet they don’t see each other as often as they’d like. You can see that in people, that fondness, that tendency to soak up every moment because it’s just not going to be long enough, no matter how long it is.
Aubrey is in Mexico now, and I won’t get to hug her for two years. Dezi and Rachel are in Arlington, less than an hour away, which is beautiful. But I find myself mentally fast-forwarding to August, when Dezi will marry the boy that’s been trying to get around to marrying her since the day I met her almost seven years ago. And then they’ll make a home in Philadelphia, and my heart will be in yet another place. Dallas. Kansas City. Philadelphia. Mexico. Fort Rucker. Roach. Fredericktown. Haiti. Bolivar. Marshall. Hannibal. Tampa. Orlando.
One day you wake up and realize that you will never not miss anyone. That your heart will spend the rest of its life being in a lot of places, because it belongs to so many people that you can’t ever replace or forget.
And so I love these coffee shop moments. I love the moments of coming together, the moments that feel both like they’ll never be long enough and like they’ll never end. So I’m going to sit here for a moment, and enjoy someone else’s story, because it reminds me to enjoy mine. In its beauty, it reminds me of the immense beauty that I’ve been given, the beauty that means my heart lives all over the world.