A special person in my life

Last week we admired the stunning landscape of natural pools and cascading waterfalls. Today we ride bikes on home trails finishing, as we always do, chin-wagging with friends at our local café. Having a good friend to enjoy life with is indeed a precious gift.

When I reminisce over my life and the people who have crossed my path, I can’t help but marvel at moments of Divine intervention. Every person in our life is there for a reason – it is not a fluke or an accident. Some people arrive only temporarily and then pass through, others a lifetime, but no matter the time, there is always a reason. Those who appear in my life when I desperately need that ‘someone’ is top of my list. The people who come into my life and fill a particular void inside me.

The need to connect with someone is innate; it rises from somewhere deep within us – it’s intangible, we can’t touch it, but we know it’s there. A longing. If you read my previous writings, I talk about a persistent never-ending hum of yearning within me that did not diminish. I look back now and can see loneliness was part of this. And at the time in my life when I needed it most, Marcia turned up on my doorstep.

She was my neighbour. I worked out of town, and apart from the occasional ‘hello’, our paths only crossed the day she appeared in my driveway to ask if I would accompany her while she rode her brand-new e-bike.

“To keep an eye on me in case I fall off,” she said.

Marcia was in her seventies at the time – a tiny lady with the whitest of white hair that grows out rather than down. I only agreed because I thought it a neighbourly thing to do.

Six years later, we still head out for our weekly bike ride, always finishing at the local coffee shop. Marcia’s love of the outdoors, passion for the environment and a keen interest in sports – I always leave with a sense of well-being from having had an excellent healthy, robust, deep and meaningful conversation. As a person with a noisy inner life, I particularly cherish our ‘deep and meaningfuls’. I no longer consider biking with Marcia the ‘neighbourly thing to do’ – I feel it is something I absolutely love to do with her.

Often when I try to describe Marcia to others, I explain her as ‘my friend who knows everything’. I lovingly say this – her zest, intelligence, and curiosity about life spark lively debate with anyone around her. Today’s world vastly differs from her experiences, having been born in the 1940s.

She questions everything, and we sometimes have differing views on everything, and no one escapes her probing questions. Sometimes I feel pretty sorry for Parks and Recreation staff who mow our recreational reserves when confronted with my friend’s admonishments for various mowing failings or the engineer building our new bridge/walkway who has to explain his design decisions. And please don’t get me started on coffee froth… she’s the expert!

When we are not journeying the great outdoors, I check in with her at her house. Sometimes she leaps off a chair to demonstrate a Tai Chi move which I am supposed to emulate but never gets quite right. On other days she regales me with her travel stories from the ’60s and ’70s, of travelling through Russia during the Cold War when Stalin was leading the Soviet Union and passing through the bombed ruins from a war that devastated East Germany. Then there was the time she suffered altitude sickness whilst climbing in Kathmandu. The Sherpa raced down the mountain to lower altitudes and better oxygen levels with Marcia thrown over his shoulder. I often leave her house feeling like I have stepped out of a John le Carré novel.

How did I get so lucky to find a friend I enjoy being with and with whom I have so much in common right on my doorstep? I have always felt that intangible thread, the invisible hand of the Divine in my life – not that I have always understood or listened. But Marcia appearing in my life is one of those moments piloted by the One who breathed life into me. The impeccable timing, ideal circumstances, and joy the friendship adds to my life, and the lessons harvested are a Godsend.

I hope it is for her too.





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