A Dharma Glimpse by Aidan
Last week, I unexpectedly reconnected with an old friend with whom I had once been very close but fell out with five long years ago.
We had made apologies for what happened and spoken on and off since then, but my anxieties, my clinging to old memories and fears, held us back from really coming back into each other’s lives.
Perhaps I was held back by my ego, by my desire, not for something, but to avoid something.
To avoid confronting the past and risking embracing a renewed friendship that may end in the same way again.
I had long thought that we had fallen out of each other’s lives for good.
I’d accepted that.
Despite the occasional text message, we fell out of touch yet again not too long ago and I felt that I had wasted my final chance at reconciliation.
But a chance encounter on a train and a conversation with a mutual friend led us to spend real time together for the first time in half a decade.
It was strange.
Awkward to start with, but then special.
Like reliving old times.
It has left me thinking ever since about second chances and the all-too strange coincidences of life.
At a time when I was thinking a lot about how I had messed up an opportunity to reconnect, accepting the consequences, everything just seemed to line up, well beyond either of our controls, to bring us together.
I cannot explain how this happened or why, but I’ve accepted, after meditating on it, that I don’t need to.
I must just be grateful that it happened at all.
It has got me thinking, too, about that most important concept: impermanence.
The impermanence of our original friendship.
The impermanence of our distance.
The impermanence of our lives and how much things have changed for the both of us in the years since.
Perhaps the impermanence of our renewed relationship.
I have spent so many years desiring to fix things between us, and yet desiring to avoid fresh hurt.
Every step forward we have taken before has left me wanting to step back away again.
But now that that desire is met, what now?
I know that the answer must be to just enjoy it, to accept what we had, what we lost, and what we have again.
Perhaps that is easier said than done.
But I must now put my practice to work, to value what we’ve got now, and accept that things will come and go as life intended.
I have considered that, maybe, the lesson I am meant to draw from this was that I was only able to reach my desire – to reconcile and reunite with my friend – only when I no longer desired it.
It came to me naturally, when my desire was lost, replaced by grief, and then acceptance and when there was nothing left to fear and no more hope of seeking this.
In acceptance of what I had, came what I had sought.
And happiness came not through wanting this, but by it coming to me when the time was right for me to receive it, free of fear and prejudgements and preconceptions of what I wanted from it.
After all, our reunion came about, not as a result of me seeking my desire, but through pure quirk of fate.
I never believed that we would reconnect, but life made it happen.
Perhaps we will be friends for many years once again, perhaps we will not.
Life will decide and I must just play with whatever hand I am dealt and accept our friendship, however long or short it may be this time, for the unexpected gift that it is.