Thursday, June 9, 2022

Celebrations and hope

Ramona Behnke offered today's writing inspiration/prompt - to think about 'small celebrations' in our lives. Check out her thoughtful reflections on this theme, and read the comments on her post for links to other writers and their responses.


June simply bursts with celebrations - so many weddings and anniversaries, graduations, backyard barbecues to kick off summer, end-of-year parties to celebrate happy conclusions of various clubs and activities. Often, there's special travel to see loved ones at this start to summer (all the more special after two years + of pandemic) and, of course, there's Father's Day, as well. Yes, June is a celebratory time. 

We were invited to a gala event in celebration of a special someone recently, a dear friend of our family. I'll keep the party 'anonymous' in the interest of sharing something a little deeper:

there was one invitee whom I was totally surprised to see, 
someone I knew in a wholly personal, emotional, confidential way, totally apart from this celebration, 
someone I never imagined running into there or anywhere again
though I had hoped and prayed I would.

Years ago, we had met in a time of parallel pain; we had met at a recovery program, both of us parents to a child with addiction. This recovery program was an extraordinary blessing, giving us space to share our hurt and the tools we needed to move forward. Every participant shared personal stories, with the assurance of anonymity. 

I was awash in empathy for everyone, but this one family's story is one that I held in my heart these many years. One evening during the support group, this parent and I had the opportunity to share more deeply one-on-one, and I felt a sad yet beautiful intersection of our grief. We listened to one another and 'held' each other in this time of fear and confusion. I know I reflected on their words many times over, in the months and years to come; I was lifted by their story. I realized then that it is no small thing to be alongside another in suffering; there is great power in this.

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." Helen Keller

Over the years, I have wondered about their child. I prayed for their recovery. I hoped for strength for the family. 

Here, many years later, we cross paths again! In the midst of a completely separate and jubilant celebration! 

It felt coincidental, so happenstance, so wonderful.

(I have a friend who assures that a coincidence is the work of the holy - when you are surprised like this, believe in the mystery of something much larger than you. In the midst of this celebration, I did feel the holy.)

This person and I, we greeted each other like old friends, with a warm embrace. We met each other's eyes. With just a few tender words, we were able to impart how much healthier each of our children now was. We shared big smiles, and moved apart to chat and mix with others at the party, continuing the celebration at hand. I, however, basked in the second celebration of simply intersecting with them, again.

my goodness, 
this is truly cause for celebration - 
one that, so many years ago, I could hardly imagine. 

I hope I have been able to impart how serendipitous and special this reconnection was to me. I have been smiling for several days now, ever since running into this person again. 

I am so aware of 
    the healing power of time, 
    the strength, fortitude, and perseverance of individuals, and 
    the iridescent and lasting beauty of interactions. 
You simply never know what the future holds, and 
how your presence might help another. 


  1. A beautiful sharing of this holy moment of reconnection. Isn't it so true that we never know how our presence can or will help another? I sense the joy that you both felt encountering one another at this event and sharing the good news that both of your loved ones are doing much better. Recovery is always cause for celebration. Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. Maureen, such an incredibly powerful post. I am inclined to agree with the holy connection. i have a book full of stories about just that - Small Miracles: Extraordinary Coincidences from Everyday Life. Fills me with awe, just as your story does, and your courage in sharing it. What a glorious thing, this reunion! Your beautiful lines at the end say it all - for we are all here to help one another along the way.