A River Called Love


A few days ago I had a visit from a dear friend I hadn’t seen in years. As young mothers we lived in the same town and attended the same church. When her husband was confirmed in the Episcopal church, he asked my husband to be his godfather. When their third child was born, they asked us to be his godparents; when my son was born they became his.
Among the many things Ginger and I had in common, perhaps the most important to both of us was a deep spiritual thirst. I had experienced a spiritual awakening at the age of 17 when the Bible came alive for me. Her awakening came with the miracle of the birth of her first child. Together, the two of us lapped up church services, Bible study, prayer groups and retreats like parched kittens. In our spare time we took care of each others’ kids, shared our deepest feelings, and prayed with and for each other.
Within a few years Greg’s work called him to another town. They moved several times after that and we rarely saw each other again. Then, a few weeks ago, I got a call from Ginger telling me that after living with prostate cancer for 17 years, Greg had died and she was returning to Florida to visit family and old friends for some love therapy. We picked a day to meet and I looked forward to her visit.
But our paths have deviated radically over the years and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I live in a big city; she lives in a remote rural area. I’ve traveled extensively, she has stayed close to home. I entered the germ-free tower of academia; her work as a nurse and caregiver required regular physical intimacy in the trenches. What concerned me most was that she had grown increasingly conservative in her political and religious views whereas I had become what I feared she would see as a flaming liberal religious heretic!! (She watches Fox Network and I watch CNN!) Would we feel comfortable together? Could we be honest about our differing views? Would she still like me, or would the polarization so rampant in today’s America infect us with its toxic distrust and animosity?
I needn’t have worried. Our time together was Real time. Soul time. A time for Love. We talked about Greg. We talked about our kids and grandkids and wished we could see each others’ families. We laughed about the fact that she loves Sarah Palin and is aghast that I voted for Obama. We laughed at my incredulity that she doesn’t believe in evolution. Then my daughter-in-law stopped by to borrow some life jackets, so Ginger got to meet her and my grandsons. A while later my daughter called to say she was coming by with her girls to drop off some things she’d borrowed from us. Ginger and I marveled at these amazing synchronicities. It never happens that both of my girls and their children come by unexpectedly on the same day, and yet that day they did. Later, we met my husband at our grandsons’ Little League game and after 35 years Ginger was reintroduced to the coach, my son, her godson.
Like I said, the one thing Ginger and I always had in common was our spiritual  thirst, a thirst for Love. And we’ve never stopped trying to quench it. Over time, drinking in love washes away all the dross—all the words, ideals, prejudices, and wounds—and leaves only the pure essence of soul wherein the river of  love that underlies everything comes to dwell.  It’s no coincidence Ginger received exactly what she needed that day.  The river called Love knows its own.

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0 Responses

    1. Joan,
      Thank you. I love the way you listen with your heart. You have a way of zeroing in on authentic feeling that is very special. I would say it is a major strength of yours that you can trust to lead you to truth no matter what else might clamor for your attention in this noisy world.
      With much love,

  1. Jeanie, thank you for this beautiful lesson in Belonging Together.
    Thoughts, concepts, causes, reason…..none of these can tear apart hearts that share simple unadorned love!
    Such a direct, from-the-heart post…..it strikes the target center-perfect, an arrow of pure affection and gratitude.
    Brightens the day sure as sunshine!!
    All the Best,

    1. Thank you, William.
      This is such an important theme to me. As one who spent the first half of my life trying to guard myself against strong feelings for fear of being hurt, learning to feel and appreciate the love has been a major lesson in my life. I’m so glad I was able to express this in a way that feels meaningful to you too. I so appreciate your thoughtful input.

  2. Jeanie – I’ve had these same realizations with some of my friends whose views and lifestyles have been very different from mine. This was a lovely expression of friendship across borders.

    1. Thanks, Susan. Hmmm, “friendship across borders.” A timely use of words. We saw a demonstration in Flagstaff, Arizona last week that highlighted this issue from a political perspective. Ultimately, the world problem is an individual problem. As we each develop friendships across borders we contribute to the solution
      Love, Jeanie

  3. Dear Jeanie,
    Your story so beautifully captures the liberating power of love. Our external concerns of politics and science are real and shape our lives, but the deeper truth that lies within the soul connects us all.
    Thank you for reminding us of this.

    1. Well said, Sally. I love, “the liberating power of love.” And this truth needs to be faced, dealt with, and expressed openly and often at both the social and individual levels if we wish to free ourselves and each other from our misguided, self-imposed, soul-killing solitary confinements.

  4. Just lovely, Jeanie. Being one who has moved so many times in my life…and find that even friends who live in town seem to live in another state because busy lives keep us apart…it is a comforting truth that love seems to know no time or distance. It is constant and like a river, carries us in the current of life.

  5. Beth,
    It really is a comfort, isn’t it? In fact, I really can’t think of anything more comforting than knowing there are people who love us for who we are and always will, even if we never see them again. Just in case you didn’t know, I love you that way!

  6. This is a great story of reconnection, much like I felt when you called us a while back. The godparent connection too felt eerie.
    When I was raising the kids, conservative or liberal didn’t enter in to who our friends were…just the friendship. Glad your friendship with your friend survived. Donna

  7. Thank you, Donna. It was wonderful seeing you. And we adored seeing Brian and his baby too. It’s sad when dear friends get separated like this, but I really love that it feels just like old times when you get together again.
    You’re so right. Politics wasn’t an issue with us in those days. But then again, the media weren’t instigating and encouraging divisiveness like they seem to be doing now. It’s hard not to catch the polarization virus, especially if everyone around you is getting it. May we continue to be immune to it, and may we find ways to nurture the union of opposites!!
    Much love,

  8. Hey Jean Raffa, I am home after a month long pilgrimage. Our time together was truly a highlight. Last Thursday everything kind of tumbled in on me as I realized I was about to return home to an empty home and I have to learn to live my life without Greg. As I have visited friends and family I have realized how much he was a part of each relationship. I have also become aware of how much my “free spirit” was made possible because of his steady, dependable presence in my life.
    Thank you for you thoughtful and loving summation of our visit. Were you taking notes? 🙂 I look forward to seeing you in the mountains, with much love, Ginger

  9. Hey Ginger Jones,
    I loved our time together and am looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip. I know you had some amazing reunions with beloved friends, and think it was so wise of you to honor your intuitive need to renew some of your most meaningful relationships at this crucial transition in your life.
    I think what you are feeling now—I mean that unexpected new awareness that you may have taken the beloved people (and animals who have been in your life for a very long time) for granted without really understanding how much your daily routines , your very life, revolved around the soothing and soul-satisfying ways they gave themselves to you and you to them—is universal. Just another step in the Waking-Up-To- Love process we’re all meant to go through. I think the loss of Big Love makes us much more aware of and grateful for the little gifts of love available to us from moment to moment in daily life, and I think that’s exactly what we’re supposed to learn in Earth-School: that, actually, our Source is Love, and Love is everywhere.
    P.S. I wasn’t taking notes. But I was listening real hard!
    Love you,

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