Ten years ago, today, one of my oldest and best friends died of ovarian cancer. She was 32 years old, far too young, not at all ready to depart. I think about her often, perhaps as a way of keeping her with me, maybe just because I loved her, because I miss her, and because the seeds she sowed in me before her death have finally begun to bloom. Together, we experienced the fumbling and awkward steps of youth, learning to articulate what we desired from life. It was an imperfect relationship, but honest, true, and impassioned.
Shortly before her death, I was visiting her in Houston and my current passions and interests were just beginning to take form. She took me to her favorite antiques store so I could explore. I felt like a hummingbird in that store, so many delights that it was difficult for me to touch down for more than a moment. I encountered a large jar of buttons and thought briefly of looking through them, but moved on to other treasures. She was tired and told me she'd sit for awhile, to take my time. By the time I returned, she had sifted through the entire jar, mining the ordinary for just a few treasures for me to take home.
I felt such joy in what she had discovered and I've come back to that lesson over and over through the years. I stop, I'm more patient, I look for the divine in the ordinary, the details that surpass the whole. It is not the only gift she gave me, but one of the most important. I only know this now, a decade on, and I didn't get to tell her. But I plant the seeds of that gift, knowing that somewhere along the line, it will be a gift for another.