Tonight on my way home from one of my many right livelihood jobs, this one as a counselor in a drug and alcohol treatment outpatient program, I steered the Jeep toward my ‘office away from home’ a.k.a. The Zen Den in the bucolic/artsy Bucks County, PA town of Doylestown. I was dropping off a copy of my Bliss book to offer as part of a raffle basket and indulge in my drink of choice there: soy chai latte. I placed my order and went to find a table in the corner. At the next table was a young couple meeting with someone who I couldn’t see at first glance. I gathered they were speaking with a wedding officiant since they were making statements of that nature and I do that kind of work too, so it almost a no-brainer to figure out. It wasn’t until I heard the response that my heart took a hopscotch leap. The minister was my friend Naila Francis. A dear kindred spirit, she lights up the world with her brilliant smile (think Mary Richards) and her writing talent. I grinned and nodded, so as not to interrupt and settled down to do my work as she did hers. Once the couple went on their way, she and I hugged our hellos. Naila’s writing appears in our regional newspaper in her regular column called Life In La La Land (so named because her niece couldn’t pronounce Naila so, La La she became) which is from the day to day experience of this Renaissance Woman. I am moved to delighted laughter and wracking tears at various times as she has written about her travels, her work, her relationship with her Beloved Zane and most poignantly the recent deaths of two important men in her life; her father who died in October and her mother’s long time companion who passed last year and was surrogate father to her and her brother since their own lived on St. Lucia. Her emotional vulnerability is palpable and raw in everything she pens.
Tonight I asked her the obvious question “So when are you going to write YOUR book?” She smiled somewhat demurely and indicated that she wasn’t sure she would. I marveled at the idea that she could decline the opportunity to share her wit and wisdom with the world. I’m not saying that because she is my friend, but because it is as much a universal Truth as is possible. In addition to her column, she writes about musicians that come to our area to perform. In the realm of the ‘grass is always greener’, I told her that I would love to do what she does and she reminded me that I already do.”Think of all the amazing people you’ve interviewed.”. Both of us smiled a bit sheepishly as we acknowledged how we sometimes take for granted how cool it is.
As she was about to leave, I told her I would probably be writing about our encounter and asked if she minded if I say that I attempted to ‘kick her butt’ into writing a book. We both giggled about it and I was struck by the ways we invite people into our lives. She said she never sees anyone she knows here and I told her that I always do. Between the two of us, I’m glad that my tendency won out. I am so glad we serendipitously beckoned each other into our mutual presence on this chilly East Coast night as we were warmed by our kindred spirit/anam cara/soul friend connection.