Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Walking and talking

I just returned from a 90 minute walk with an old friend. Did you ever notice how easy it is to walk and talk? It just seems like a natural process to move the legs and move the jaws.

Today was a beautiful, crisp, clear, partly sunny day in New England. The leaves are changing gradually and I doubt they'll reach peak this weekend, which is traditionally the designated time for visitors to flock here. Perhaps further north they'll enjoy the brilliant scarlets, eye-popping oranges, and dazzling yellows coloring the foliage.

Judy is an old friend and I almost lost this relationship. I have the mind of a chronic alcoholic, which means that in the past I often distorted reality and harbored resentments. I tended to get peeved when things didn't go my way and my usual retort was sarcasm, sighing, eye rolling, and the like. In other words, I lacked good communication skills.

Fortunately I've been working to recover from a seeming hopeless condition of mind and body. In particular, I own my past behavior and am making amends for having hurt people. I hurt Judy with my behavior, not deliberately, unintentionally with my unexpressed displeasure. Although I did speak with her a while back and identified my poor conduct, she was already so distressed that she was ready to let the relationship go. In fact, she needed a break.

When I saw her a year ago, she made it clear that our relationship was on hold. So I backed off and had no contact at all during the year. Then we saw each other during the High Holiday service, and she indicated a softening.

Rather than risk more discomfort, I waited for her to initiate a call. She did and we planned this walk. I thought we might talk about what happened, but as it turned out, our conversation never wondered down that path. Perhaps in the future it might. I'll take my cues from her.

What I learned is that I cannot take our relationship, any relationship, for granted. A friend is a gift, a precious gift. We choose our friends, and have to earn their friendship in return. I hope that I can maintain and grow my relationship with Judy. Here's to another walk and talk.

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