To win one's joy through struggle is better than to yield to melancholy.~André Gide
We held our lanterns against the foggy morning, arms linked, our feet articulate along the pathway of our friendship. We hadn't seen each other for a few years--her irises still two perfect cerulean circles. Her smile a glowing center of affection.
Time pressed together as we spoke of the last years--grazing, grinding, rasping events and losses that could have devoured us, but didn't. We described each other as "bad ass" women and laughed. As we meandered down our historical trail, there was no doubt in my mind that we both had earned the title, and as I listened to the struggles my friend had transcended, a thousand rays of hope coursed through me with each heartbeat. Neither she nor I had yielded to melancholy.
We sit across from each other on a blue sofa in her new house. She has decorated the walls with paintings and photos that reflect her artist's soul, like spokes of sunlight that caper through the room. I am absorbed in the beauty. She breaks the comfortable silence between us and says, "I don't know if I really deserve this house." My mind at once leaps to "Yes, yes. You deserve every square foot. You deserve to relish and inhabit this sanctuary." I cannot fully express the intensity of my conviction and simply reply, "You deserve this house. You deserve it."
My friend shows me the different rooms of her home. It's as if I take my lantern and shine the light in every corner, each crevice a new delight. We walk to the third floor to an unfinished space. I detect the scent of potential. "I want to create an artist's studio--perhaps to paint or dance or write." Light pours from an unshuttered window as if to affirm this declaration, this prophecy of things to come.
I pack up my things to leave. I look out the vault of glass windows that overlooks a lake. The water offers up a pearly luminescence. A bird courses through the air. My friend says she walks outside on her deck each evening to look at the moon. We hug each other a long time. We've come to the end of our pathway for this day, the sunlight swallowing the fog, our lanterns unlit now. We will find each other again. Sooner maybe. Maybe not. No matter. We are timeless vessels--vessels of peace and grace for one another in this life.