This year more than other years people I have met in other contexts and places over the last thirty years have made their way back into my life. The reason they do so varies from reaching out to say hello, to needing something, to coming through Paris and so many others I cannot remember and list them all. Perhaps Facebook makes this phenomenon easier because we feel closer to people as we witness their lives even when we do not make ourselves heard.
Most of the times people come back for reasons you would not expect.
I used to try to make sense of these happenings, odd intersections between my past and present, but now I just accept them. Once, a few years ago someone told me something that changed my life. A custodian of a church told me an elderly lady had come in with precious pieces of information of the church and by the time she ran back with pen and paper to note everything down the woman had disappeared. She had worked very hard to try to rebuild the historical record of a church that had been closed to the public for decades. When I saw her again several years later I asked her if she had been able to find the woman again, she said something that struck me.
“No but I’ve learned to stop looking. Life teaches us there are those who come and those who go. It is like the lobby of the grand hotel, the sliding door always turns and people come in and out. I never ask more of them than when they are there.”
It reminds me of something I read in one of my favorite novels, Embers, it says that timing in life is never wrong. People come into your life exactly when they are supposed to teach you what you have to learn. The timing is never wrong, it is up to you to accept it.
When you start to think about life that way it goes from being unbearable to simply beautiful.
Accidentally I somehow recorded the sentence on my Iphone a year ago. Now I think about it whenever someone reaches out, holding back any feeling or expectation beyond the gratitude that they did, curious of what I will learn.