Over the years, I have occasionally wondered what would happen if I sat down to write an In Between Sundays and found that I had nothing to write about. This week, as I sat down to write, I felt as if I had nothing to write about. In that exact moment, every idea that occurred to me felt too overwhelming or too trite. It was one of those moments where I realized that I am, in some ways, still recovering from and digesting the multiple traumas of the past year.
With only a few random sentences written, I decided to take a break and sit on my patio for a few minutes. It is extremely quiet there and, on most days, you can be almost completely assured of solitude. Over the years though, there has been one semi-consistent exception; a neighbor who, from time to time, walks her dog past our patio. I met her several years ago as I was sitting outside and she stopped to tell me how much she loved seeing my cat, King Lear, lounging on the windowsills. We spoke for a few moments, I bent down to pet her dog, we exchanged casual, polite, pleasantries and wished each other a good day. Over the years, we have repeated this interaction several times and over time, we have gotten to know each other a bit, one short conversation at a time, one small detail at a time. It has been a slow unveiling and it is an interaction that even an introvert like me has come to look forward to.
So, as I sat on my patio a few days ago with nothing to write about and looking for solitude, my neighbor and her dog appeared. I instinctively got up to greet them. We fell into our familiar conversation but this time, as she was preparing to walk away, she stopped and very sincerely expressed to me how much she enjoyed our conversations. She thanked me for being kind. She told me that the world seemed overwhelming to her these days and that our brief shared moments held meaning for her in the midst of that. I thanked her in return for her presence in my life. For her years of consistent, patient, kind friendship. And then we parted ways with the promise of, “See you soon!”
It was a small moment that may not have happened if I had not ventured outside because I had nothing to write about. It was a small moment that filled me. It was restorative. It was a moment borne of nothing and it was everything.