There's been one classmate from nursing school who's stayed in touch with me over the past several years. We've exchanged Christmas letters and later an occasional email. This year she said that she and her husband would be coming to Taos with their camper. The last time I saw Carol and Mel was when I sang at their wedding and I looked forward to their visit. When we picked them up at their 5th Wheel camper, Carol and I hugged and laughed. No words were necessary. Although we're much older, our appearance hadn't changed so much - white hair for me, but the same hairstyle and for her some gray threaded through her waves. The connection was immediate and as if we seen each other yesterday. Conversation flowed easily with all four of us and I was sorry to have them leave.
So what it is about these human connections? Sometimes you meet people and it's as if there's a chemical reaction that hisses and pushes you away from each other. It's possible to overide the instantaeous reaction, but the time together is hard work and drains you of energy. Then there's my classmate with whom I have almost nothing in common, but it's so easy to be with her regardless of the conversational topic.
Scientists talk about pheromones that cause attraction between men and women. Now I wonder if there's something more going on between individuals that makes some relationships easy and energizing while others take all of the zest out of you. When I taught nursing, I had classes of students that had this effect on me. Some classes were a joy to be with and I left the lesson eager to move on to my next task. Another class of nursing students are fixed in my memory because, despite their lack of knowledge, they refuted everything I said and vigorously challenged the rules for each assignment. I've known similar situations with speaking engagements when the audience seemed to drain the oxygen out of the room and I've left the event exhausted. On other occasions, I could have stayed with the group until morning.
Is there something else going on? If so, what is it and can we change it? Both parties have to participate in the desire to change and then maintain the new relationship. I wonder if this is part of what's going on at the global level? Few have the chance to work at the global level so I wonder if, at the local level, our attitudes have an impact in the world? Some would say that we must pray, but I think we need to consider our deeper attitudes that may resurface after the prayer is said in comments that we make. Perhaps real change begins and ends with us.
In the meantime, I'm so glad that I reconnected with Carol after all these years. Our time together gave me a terrific boost. Thanks, Carol.