Sunday, August 28, 2011

Kindred Spirits

Sometimes you meet someone and feel as if you have known him your entire life. You don’t have to try to like him. You just do. You know things about him even before you know that you know it. You are content just being in his space. There is nothing awkward or uncomfortable about being together even though you may have just met. I am fortunate to have more than a few of these people in my life.

I’m not talking simply life partner here, although in my case it’s a fit. I’m talking about best friends, close siblings, good neighbors, a student, someone you meet through a friend of a friend.

Some of these people breeze through. They are out of my life as fast as they are in it, and I am glad for the connection. Others decide to pull up a chair and stay.

I am at a friend’s house. We are babysitting her grandchild, oohing and ahhing as only women who haven’t held a creamy-skinned bundle of newborn in over twenty years can do. In walks her daughter with two of her close friends. I don’t know these people, so introductions are quickly made. Friend Number Two looks at me and says, “And I KNOW you.” My head races through my mental people-I-have-met-in-my-lifetime directory. “No. I don’t think you do,” I counter. “Yeah. I’m pretty sure,” she insists. I have the memory of whatever animal it is that has such an excellent memory. Mostly my memory is best at useless bits of conversation, random facts on random issues, fourth grade state history, the bones of the body and, well, faces. “No. You don’t.” I am certain. Friendly, but certain. It’s a nice visit, and we spend a bit chatting each other up before the girls head out to do whatever it is they have planned to do. We say our goodbyes and Friend Number Two shoots me a look, a flip of the head, and says, with an irresistible smile, “Nice talking to YOU, babe.” She doesn’t know me, and I’m her elder. I’m thinking “babe” and that look she gave me are both a bit too familiar in this instance. Either she is coming onto me in front of her best friend’s mother, which is not an altogether unpleasant idea, or she really does feel the connection she insists she is certain of. I never see her again, but I remember this moment still and can’t shake the feeling that I have met up with an old friend and that a refreshing breeze has renewed my soul.

I am at an end of term get together, a pool party. Twenty of us instructors have spent the last year together brushing up on our mad teaching skills. Now we have joined with pie and pasta and potato salad in the name of patting ourselves on the backs for a job well done. I am introduced to the partner of the host. He is genial, relaxed, and as chatty as I. We think we know each other, but after running through the potential familiar sources decide that, no, indeed, we do not. But still we believe we do. Conversation is easy and engaging. The night passes quickly. We could talk forever and never get bored or tire of each other. I am sure of this. We end the party knowing that after we have parted we will remember how it is exactly that we know each other. But, no, we don’t. There is just that air of familiarity, that comfort level, that knowing, that never goes away.

Some refer to these kindred spirits as companion soul mates. Companion souls are those we have known in previous lifetimes, those we have shared our space with, those who have traveled with us on our journey through various incarnations. They are comfortable to us, familiar. We are totally at ease with them. Companion souls make for excellent friendships, close marriages, and strong parent-child ties. The connections surround us in good feelings, positive thoughts, and a cosmic version of a warm hug. We can be ourselves with these people. They know us. Maybe they come into our lives just to touch base and say hello, as did Friend Number Two and Pool Party Guy. Maybe they've come along to share the ride.

My oldest is in second grade. We have just moved across town. I have wedged my thirty-some-year-old body into a tiny student desk. I am listening to the new teacher share expectations about the coming year. I am also carrying on a delightful side conversation with another new-to-the-system mom whose family also just moved from across town. Unbeknownst to us, our husbands are sitting on a playground bench together this very minute, introducing themselves to each other while supervising our sprouting families. Little do we know this will be the beginning of a wonderful friendship for the two of us. We understand each other. We are comfortable together. We have no need to explain ourselves. Ever. Often, in fact, it is she who explains my actions and thoughts better than I. And, likewise, vice versa. We can talk or not, spend time together or not, and still it is as if we are never apart. There is a presence. We know that we have been together through many lifetimes, that there is a soul connection stronger than even we, kooks who entertain such notions, can comprehend.

I believe these companion souls exist in our lives to help us in some way along our journey. I believe they are here to guide us and entertain us and keep us company at both our highest moments and our lowest. I believe that we are together on this ride to learn from each other, to support each other, and to provide gentle encouragement and applause. We are a soul family and as such brothers and sisters in the game of living life.

Most days you go about your business without giving personal significance or life purpose or interconnectedness much thought, then you happen to meet someone and feel as if you have known him your entire life.

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