|Suzy: friend, chauffeur, host, writer, generous spirit, maker of dreams come true|
When I saw an e-mail from Suzy in my inbox in October, I expected a friendly note, or a writerly exchange, but not what I actually received. It was an invitation to join her in Connecticut,where she lives, for a long weekend to celebrate my birthday. She would fly me there and put me up in a bed and breakfast and we would do whatever I wanted.
As with many of you, I find it much easier to give than receive, and especially difficult to accept such unearned generosity. But it was a chance to spend time with this amazing friend I'd only seen in person once when we met at a writing retreat four years ago. And I can't actually imagine the circumstances under which I might refuse the chance for a travel adventure.
So I said yes. From the very first I was aware of the enormity of the gift I was receiving and the hugeness of the heart giving it. All of which made my own heart swell and my mouth curl into smiles of easy delight. Our plans were open-ended - there was a lot of talk about writing and talking about writing and just hanging out together. But a week before my departure, I received another e-mail informing me I'd be having a spa day at Kripalu.
Suzy spent the weekend before our visit in a workshop with Natalie Goldberg at Kripalu. She knew how excited I was for her. She also knew Kripalu was a place I'd read about and intended to find a way to someday. She moved up my time table.
I traveled on the Friday before Thanksgiving, in the midst of all the hoorah about airport security. I'd convinced myself that being scanned was a small price to pay for the adventure and the friend waiting for me on the other side of the country. I mostly believed myself, but was relieved to discover that going through security, at least in Portland, was no more challenging than when I last flew in July. It might have been an omen, except I was determined that there were not going to be any bad events this trip - only interesting experiences.
Suzy greeted me at the Hartford airport with a great warm smile and before my passenger door was closed we were visiting as though our conversation was the continuation of one conducted over years and years of friendship. Even jet-laggy after a twelve hour day I soaked up all I could, from the drive to Branford, to our first meal at an Italian restaurant, to the incredible comfort of my room.
As she left me for the night, promising to get me in the morning in time for breakfast and our long drive to Massachusetts for my Kripalu experience, Suzy said, not for the first time, "I'm so glad you're here." And by the time I returned home the following Monday, there was not one single doubt about that.
When I woke up the next morning to clear skies and crisp air, I had no idea how much the next hours were going to change my life, or how they'd reveal the hand of a loving divinity with a sublime sense of humor.
|Queen Ann Room at By the Sea Inn, Branford, CT|
There's too much to tell, too much magic to share, to try to put it all into one story. So, you'll need to be patient and come back. Next post: Kripalu Saturday. Sunday is a whole other set of wonders to be shared in yet another post.