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Every once in a while life hands you a gift; an unexpected, small joy that fills a space you were unaware was empty.  It starts out as an introduction, someone who shares a common passion.  Perhaps they work for the same company, or in the same industry.  Your paths may cross because of a hobby, sport or leisure activity.  

This chance encounter slowly grows as the easy routine of shared experiences evolves.  Often the friendship plateaus, because the activity is the only thing you and the other person have in common.  And that is all right and comfortable within the boundaries of that particular part of your life.  

On rare occasions, the relationship deepens as you share other parts of your life experiences and feel the common thread of understanding tightening.  I have been blessed since last fall with this awakening to a new confidant.  There is a good ten-year difference in our chronological ages and she is embarking on a very tough stage of motherhood with teenagers and high school.  From the outside our lives are on very different paths.  We met through the love of our equine companions, but from there our friendship has evolved to a deeper understanding of each other’s lives, hopes and dreams.

When you open your email in the morning and scan the list of new messages, there is always one person’s name whose message is the first you open.  You know it will be funny, perhaps snarky, a soft cry for help or understanding, or just wanting to vent.  You make simple plans, knowing the experience will reward you with far greater memories and thoughts then if that activity were shared with someone else.  

Sometimes, this friendship lasts a lifetime, others fill a void for a time and you move apart as life changes.  Perhaps you come back together at a later time to rekindle the flame of communal existence. 

The friend I write about surprised me with a gift on Saturday, which brought tears of gratitude.  She looked deep into my soul, my desires and fears, and presented me with this framed tribute. 

The photo does not do justice to the enormity of the sentiment or the beauty of the gift. 

“Leap and the net will appear”   (Zen Saying)

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