It's funny--it's a place that I always feel profoundly loved but I'm always a little nervous walking in. In the perfect moment of serendipity and joy, the first person who reached out to me and dragged me into a conversation was my friend Mike.
I have to tell you a little bit about Mike. This is a man who knows how to be kind and make you feel really really good about yourself. He's the best drug I've ever taken.
At my first SVN conference--many, many moons ago--like many others I didn't know what the hell to think of the group. But after the first night I was hooked. At my second conference, in Santa Monica CA, I met Keith and Charles from Housing Works. And we were instant friends. So for the next several years we spent the first night of every conference together having fun and catching up and goofing off and drinking and dancing way too much. And it was wonderful.
On April 5, 2004 Keith died. And it just about broke my heart. But the thing is, I knew Keith would die. So I had an array of snapshots that I kept in my head of him. Every time I saw him, I intentionally took a little picture with my brain and stashed it away.
Two weeks after Keith's death, I went off to the SVN conference. I knew there would be a wonderful memorial for him there but I hadn't really thought the whole thing out ahead of time. I walked into the first session, the first night--where I had always been with Keith--and sucked my breath in. I didn't know where to sit. I didn't know who to sit with. I didn't know what to do. But Mike and our other friend Jerry were waiting for me. The were standing in the back, poised for action and as I walked into the room and realized my shock, they put their arms around me and we watched the first speaker of the conference in a wonderful huge warm safe hug. I know this is not something that you normally expect at a business conference but, dude, this is how we roll and it's such a better way of doing business. I don't know if they planned it and, frankly, I don't care. It worked for me and whether it was planned or spontaneous--it was tremendous.
So this year, I walked in, joined Mike's group when he waved me over and was immediately sucked into the stories that were being told (it was a breakout group). About 10 minutes into it, I felt something warm and smooth on my thigh. It was a perfect oval white stone that Mike had found on the beach that morning. And it felt really really really really good. So I left there. And I stroked it. And enjoyed the feeling of nature while we talked about business problems. That's the kind of balance that I think we could use more of--nature and work together--perfection.
We all know that I love when worlds collide. I recently got a message on Ravelry from Nancy I had some yarn that she needed. It's been in my stash for years (I think I bought it at a sidewalk sale at Katonah Yarns) and she asked how much I would like for it. I really have absolutely no idea how much I paid for it but it was certainly way less than the sticker price.
So I just asked her to make a donation to Housing Works in memory of Keith.
Can we talk about Generosity of Spirit? Nancy made an outstandingly generous financial contribution. It was way more that the yarn was worth. It was more than a lot of people's budgets for Rhinebeck. It was more than I could ever have expected and I am so so so grateful to her for carrying on the spirit of kindness and sharing that these crazy SVN friends of mine have inspired me with.
I only know Nancy through a short period of Ravelry messages but I know she is patient (it took me forever to get my act together and get the yarn to her), I know she has a sense of humor and I know that, even though I don't know her in real life, I love her. She--like Mike, Jerry, Charles, Keith and so many others, have made my life better. I was always annoyed by the whole "You complete me" thing from Jerry McGuire. I am already complete. I much prefer "You raised the bar for me. You expanded me. You made my life larger and better and so very much prettier."
Which in a funny way, leads into BadKitten Day 7.