I found this snippet in a series of notes from a long essay I am writing about working with my friend Karen.
My entire professional life has been based on the needs of others, real or imagined. I’ve built communities in college dorms, directed the formation of young leaders, directed trips into caves and climbs above the treetops. I’ve attended courses on snow and ice rescue, backcountry cooking, suicide intervention, basic first aid, learned how to deal with drunk people and how to teach church school. It’s been my professional honor to have students wake me in the night with tears and a need to talk, and I’ve welcomed them with hot tea and boxes of tissues. Those jobs were nearly twenty years ago and still I miss life in the dorm, the late-night discussions I hated to leave and the students I invariably grew to love. I miss the intimacy of life in a big rowdy group, and I think I always will.
Motherhood offered the next breath of group intimacy in my life—seven pregnant women joined ranks for a yoga class at our local hospital, and we agreed to meet weekly for tea and conversation. Somehow we met for three years, through nursing and toddlerhood and onto the next round of pregnancies. Bit by bit, the women in our group continued to move away to less expensive parts of the country until there are only two of us here now. But for a few years, I took time to sit, to sip slowly, to watch babies faces change, to get to know people’s stories. Even now, the friend I spent all those nursing hours with is almost too busy to reach. When we get together, there is always a sense of hurry, no matter how we fight it.
When in a life do we simply sit? When do we take the time to do things slowly and with great love? Almost never, in my life. Too, too rarely.