Monday, November 23, 2015

Giving Thanks

Today is a travel day (not that that's an unusual occurrence in my life as an itinerant group process consultant and community networker). Over the course of 11 hours I'll wend my way from Boston to Duluth, by way of Charlotte NC and Minneapolis MN. In addition to supplying me with a suitable block of time in which to craft this essay, the end result will be my arrival on the shores of Gitchi Gummi, where I will rendezvous with my sweetheart, Susan Anderson, in her local habitat—for the third time since our romantic adventure commenced in June.

This visit comes at an especially propitious time for me. I've been crazy busy the last three months, in the course of which I've donned pretty much every hat in my closet: process consultant, FIC administrator, workshop presenter, fundraiser, facilitation trainer, friend, book peddler, brother, and lover. Now, for the week of Thanksgiving, I get to enjoy a string of days where my priority is simply being with my partner, enjoying each other and exploring what we want our future to be.

To be sure, I still have some reports to write and planning to do for a facilitation training that I'll be conducting Dec 3-6 in Portland. But all of that can be accomplished while Susan works weekday mornings in the office of St Paul's, the Episcopal Church of which she's a member. When we're both in the house at the same time the emphasis will be on the dance of intimacy—cooking, laughing, eating, walking, and touching, not necessarily in that order.

Susan and I are both 66, and are happily surprised to find so much joy and vitality in each others company. We are at an age where it's hard to tell when will be the last time we're asked to dance, and we intend to make the most of the serendipity of our coming together. My life has gone through major upheaval in the last year, representing a jumble of loss, gain, and transition: the emergence of chronic torso pain, my wife ending our marriage of seven years, a loss of home in northeast Missouri after 41 years, relocating to Chapel Hill to live with close friends Joe & María, stepping down as FIC's main administrator after 28 years, and starting a partnership with Susan. It's a lot to digest.

Amazingly, Susan and I are not just dancing together: we seem equally willing to let the other into our lives and take a chance on the vulnerability of love in exchange for the chance at great joy and companionship. It is this feeling of being well met that seems especially magical to me, even more than the attraction. Am I seeing this with rose-tinted lenses? Absolutely. Yet I am also a manifestor—someone who has never let improbability stand in the way of taking a chance if the reward was sufficiently compelling (feint heart never won fair goal). I believe in the power of positive thinking, and I'm bringing that into play with Susan without apology.

Further, it seems uncanny that this possibility has emerged precisely at the moment in my life that is least settled going back to 1974 and the founding of Sandhill Farm. Just when many people are settling into the routine of their retirement years, here I am unexpectedly in the process of reinventing myself when this tantalizing possibility with Susan has crystallized in front of me. Well, you don't have to beat me over the head with a 2x4. I'd be an idiot to not see where something this good can lead.

Thus, above all else, this week I am thankful for the chance to not be an idiot.

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