My dearest friend, one that I lean on when I can no longer stand on my own recently summed up my last ten years as “wandering.” One word summing up a decade of my life requires reflection, so I wandered away to think about this statement. Walking past her refrigerator to begin my walk-about of thought, I read the magnet stuck directly above her freezer compartment. “Life is a journey, not a destination.” I want to open the freezer door, slam it shut and see if the magnet sticks, but I don’t. I walk out wondering if Emerson would find the irony as amusing as I do.
Stepping out into the cold, I shiver with the lingering touch of her words on my skin. My friends intention was from the right place, it always is, from her heart. We are different, which is why we have stayed friends for 30 years. I want an opposing opinion. Friends are our sounding boards not echos of our own words reverberating back. As anyone would, I prefer the high notes over the low ones, but if the sound rings true and clear I will listen to the music, but I sense her growing impatience with my lack of rhythm.
I admit it, I am easily distracted by everyday life. I am an observer of the world I live in, I find it fascinating, sad, bewildering and comical all in the course of one day. I pass a homeless man holding a sign, “Will Work for Food” at the I-74 exit to 53rd street in Bettendorf, Iowa. His face etched with years of a hard life, he is overweight and wearing a torn “George W. Bush For President” shirt. I roll down my window and hand him a McDonald’s Happy Meal and it works, for a moment he is happy.
Later, the same day, I walk in the snow and see a perfect imprint of a leaf on a mound of plowed snow and look to the sky acknowledging Gods art. I am a dreamer of how I wish the world was, trying to avoid how it is, what it has become. I have tried many things, writing books, articles, the auction business, manufacturing and now at 54 I am working in an industrial factory. It is not what I would prefer to do, it is an act of necessity brought on by my lack of rhythm, or so my friend thinks. It is true. But, am I a failure for trying things outside my comfort zone or am I a soul traveler, an adventurer of life? God will decide in the end.
Until then, is it okay if I just keep wandering, trying to understand a world I no longer fit in? I am a lover of words, written or spoken, scratched on the side of a building or carved in a tree, it is the message that lingers. Hope. I have hope, not easily found in todays world. Yes, it is true that I have no money, but I have my words to keep me warm. I suppose, If I were a scrabble word, my friend would tell me that I am using too many blanks to form the word “life.” I would tell her, to me Life is a verb, not a noun and its Ok to spell it with tilted, tainted tiles.
Emerson once said, “I do not wish to treat friendships daintily, but with roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass threads or frost work, but the solidest thing we know.”
I am a wanderer, but I am not lost. I am right here.
On solid ground with friends I hold dear.
Friendship is a constant, that never wanders and that… has a rhythm all its own.