Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Blurred vision

Sometimes, you know, the world gets blurry. Pastpresentfuture all run together til you can't tell what's what anymore. Perhaps it's merely a by-product of getting older. Perhaps everyone goes through this, after a certain number of years lived on this earth. I think, though, that it might be a disease of the foreign service. Or maybe the foreign service just makes the symptoms stronger. Who knows?

All I know is today I read a sad, sad story. If you're a mom, if you're on facebook, you probably read it too. It's making the rounds. I read it, and of course my world went blurry. Not just because of tears, mind you, though I defy you to read it without crying. It sent me back to distant Kazakhstan, to my own bright lights and ambulance. I sort of held on to that for awhile, and then I flashed forward to Beijing, to my beautiful friend Jenn, and to her small Lily. There are others, of course. There are always others. I remember sitting on a couch next to the biggest, strongest Marine you can imagine, and he held his head in his hands as he sobbed, just sobbed, and told me his own story, worse than mine. Always so much worse than mine.

Then out of the blue, I got an email from my dear friend Laura, one of my best pals in Armenia. We kept each other afloat there, she and I. She'd read the story, too, and so she was thinking of me today. We exchanged messages, she on one continent and I on another, making plans to meet up in DC this summer, maybe, possibly. And I thought, after talking to Laura: I need to find Jenn, to tell her I love her, just in case she read that story too. If she did, she'll need me today, need someone. She just left the middle east for a year in Washington. She'll be needing a friend. And other friends, friends who maybe don't want me naming them on this blog, but they'll need me too, in places as distant as Tokyo and Virginia.

From Kazakhstan to Beijing to Armenia to Virginia, in the tear-filled blink of an eye. It's amazing, the places I've been today. That was a bad thing that happened to me, back in Kazakhstan. I'm sad about it, still. But it's part of me now, and when I look at what I have, I know I'd have none of it, nothing the same, if it hadn't been for that brief moment of awfulness. No Aidan. No Kyra. No Ainsley. It's the sad things that make you, sometimes. And the sad things that make you a better friend to others.

I'm thinking of so many friends today, on so many continents, from so many different periods in my life. Everything runs together as I think of things, awful things, that brought me closer to so many special people.





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