There’s comfort in being with people who understand, who have the same need for expression that I do. Monday night I enjoyed my local guild meeting, the second meeting of the guild’s new year. We have a large group, about 150 members. Though I’ve been in the guild for more than six years, in truth, I know very few of them.
That doesn’t tell the whole story, though.
I found one of my very bestest friends at the guild. Beth, funny, smart, compassionate, artistic. When our boys were little, they played soccer together in the sunshine of fall afternoons, just like these beautiful days. I didn’t know her then; she was just another soccer mom in my busy life. We moved; the boys were in different schools.
But then there was a funny coincidence. When our little boys were young men, both attending the same university, we saw each other at a free concert downtown and renewed our acquaintance. Short weeks later we met again at the first guild meeting of that year, my first meeting as a member. So many of the women in the room were older, all strangers to me. And there was Beth! We hugged and laughed, both surprised. That night after the meeting we talked in the parking lot a long time. And we’ve kept talking, and kept listening.
I talked her into joining me on the service committee one year. And I talked her into joining me on the library committee for three years and counting. We meet at least once a month for dinner, after her fiddle lesson on Monday evenings. And though we don’t see each other a lot more than that, we both eagerly plan our next meetings. And we talk, and we listen. And we eat.
About three years ago my neighbor Nancy invited me to a “small group” meeting. Nine other women, most of them guild members, had started a group for support and encouragement. They didn’t know each other well when they started; some didn’t know each other at all. But they wanted more quilting companionship. They shared ideas and techniques and a lot of laughter. After my first meeting with them, they invited me to join their group.
The small group meets once a month. Some small groups do lessons and projects during meetings. We’re not very ambitious. Though some of us bring bindings to stitch or designs to applique, mostly we visit. Occasionally we go on a road trip, or have lunch together. But mostly we visit. And we’ve become friends.
Beth and my small group friends, other guild committee members with whom I’ve served, and my board from the year I was guild president… I don’t know many of the guild members, in truth.
But I know this: there isn’t much better than spending time with generous, compassionate, artistic people. There isn’t much better than spending time in the company of friends.