on things discovered and recovered

This big world is a strange, small place. And I believe in its infinite, sometimes insane, possibilities. A few weeks back, my dear friend Alicia was moving to California. She ended up trapped in a snowstorm. The roads were closed. She had to seek shelter. She ended up meeting an author, Sara J. Henry, who was (and, I suppose, is) on a book tour. They got to talking, and it turns out that Sara reads my blog (hi, Sara!). Alicia mentioned that she knew me, and Sara gave her a copy of her novel to send me. (I got it, and I’m looking forward to reading it.)

What are the odds, though? Small, I’m guessing, especially considering the randomness of the journey, the moving from one coast to another. The sheer, bizarre happenstance that is life. I have to say: I love it. I love knowing that connections can be made in the strangest of ways and places. I love that talking to strangers is sometimes okay. I love the moment of reaching out. I love the idea of being seen. I love the way things often change in the ordinary, unexpected instant.

This morning, I found my claddagh ring. It was a gift from my mother (it’s bad luck to buy one for yourself), and it stemmed out of my love for Buffy. I haven’t been able to find the ring for over six months. I’d been looking furiously for it for the past month or so. It should’ve been in a small box, on my bookshelf. Another ring was there, but it was not. I searched everywhere. I moved furniture. I reorganized my dresser. I dumped out drawers. I lamented to friends about the lost ring. The symbolism surely did not escape me; it’s a ring of relationships. It’s friendship, loyalty, and love. I wanted to wear it. I couldn’t find it. It was weighing on me.

Then, today, in the same drawer I’d emptied TWICE – I found my ring. It was tarnished, but no worse for its mysterious walkabout. I cleaned it up, and I put it on. I know that I checked that drawer. I know that I took out every single item. And yet, defying logic and perhaps reason, there it was – right in front. Right on top.

People say that when you stop looking for things – especially love – it shows up. I think that’s a load of bollocks, because you can’t find love with your eyes closed. Sometimes, love is just where it is. There’s no explaining it. You may have sought it out a hundred times, but it wasn’t right. It was hidden in plain sight. And then one day, you open a door or a drawer, and there it is. A little beat up, a little misshapen – and most likely, surprising. I certainly didn’t expect to rediscover my ring, today. But I did. With so much of life just around the corner, this feels like a sign. It feels like the beginning of spring, of possibility. Yesterday, I was scared about things I do not know, things I can’t possible find out. This made me realize how much we miss, if we aren’t paying attention. Sometimes, seeking and looking is the wrong thing. Sometimes, we just have to wait and see what comes to us – and to be mindful. That is the key to life, often times: being present. Being real. Living the moment, instead of sitting there with your questions.

Like my friend Alicia, you don’t know who you might know. You don’t know what connections you might make. You don’t know how small and magical the world really is – unless you are in it. Unless you do the unusual, or even the impossible. Relationships are formed in the oddest of ways, sometimes. We cannot account for that. Neither can we account for what might be returned to us.

Friendship. Love. Loyalty.

What is more important than those things? It is from those qualities that many, if not all, great things begin. Once they exist, they may fade sometimes; they do not ever disappear. Just like matter cannot be created or destroyed – neither can the intersection of those three traits. Truthfully, these three things cannot exist, if they are not linked together. Friendship without love rings hollow. Love without loyalty is a farce. And perhaps worst of all, loyalty without love. There is nothing honorable about that.

This big world is a strange, small place. But it is also full of magic and wonder. It’s full of promise. You never know who you might meet. You never know what you might find. And you never know what you might gain, unless you open something.

Pull open the door. Pick up the phone. Put yourself out there. Otherwise, you will be the thing tarnished in a drawer, hidden.

“Nothing in the world is ever completely wrong. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.” ― Paulo Coelho, Brida

“Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

“What’s the world’s greatest lie?… It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate.” ― Paulo Coelho

“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

  1. Lou
    March 19, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Lovely, Ali.

  2. March 19, 2013 at 11:01 am

    How funny! I’m reading Sara’s book for this month’s book club selection and she’s agreed to join us via conference call for our discussion tomorrow night. My son is experiencing a heartbreak and he insists he’s done, he’s never trying again. I can only hope that after the wound scabs, he’ll realize he’s the one tarnishing in a drawer.

    • March 19, 2013 at 11:26 am

      What a SMALL world, Patty! I love that. I hope the conference call is tons of fun. And your son — we all have moments like that. They are moments that suck, but they pass. Sending love!

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