Heartfelt Connection

Karen Coney Coplin

Recently, I gathered with three friends over dinner. We had not met up in person for a very long time, well before the pandemic.

Upon reflection, we realized some of us may have met up separately over the years, but it might have easily been a decade since we all sat down together. By anyone’s conservative estimate (or our faulty memories), collectively, we had over 130 years of friendship gathered at that table.

As is comfortingly the case, time and distance melted away as we caught up on all manner of things, which included stories of our children on the cusp of adulthood, aging parents and pets, the latest mass shooting (sadly enough, I can’t even readily recall which one this was), and, because we are all approaching a certain age, aches and pains and sometimes illnesses which confound us.

Additionally, like so many in Southwest Florida, one friend was hit hard by Hurricane Ian, and we listened to her recount the latest on her family’s wearying journey through demolition and reconstruction, exhaustion and probably more than anyone’s fair share of red tape. Her silver lining after the storm struck was hearing from so many friends and family who called to express concern and offer assistance.

Of course, our conversation was interspersed with more lighthearted topics: admiring comments about one friend’s vintage handbag recently purchased online; upcoming travel plans and even details of one friend’s future wedding plans.

This was a second wedding and we all remembered wedding planning – far more stress than we bargained for, especially considering three of the four “first” weddings at the table ended in divorce!

We also shared stories about our quest to purge and another’s equally passionate quest to liberate with both speaking of the same topic: decluttering.

I’d like to think I speak for all of us, those at the table that night and those reading this now, in saying we need to explore more fully, and appreciate more deeply, true connections among our friends and family and our fellow human beings.

While I can’t point to a specific reason, magic, along with dinner, was served in generous proportions that evening. Caring words and deeply intentional listening was so very much a part of that night. As our conversation flowed, so did a lot of laughter and even some tears.

I mentioned this dinner to another friend who recalled that she remains regularly in touch with three dear friends. We contrasted that with the comment that I hadn’t seen one of the guests at dinner in many years and was gratified that we could pick up so easily where we left off.

We agreed that it was a gift. So much like each day – each moment – the present. Nothing more is promised nor guaranteed.

Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat in the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Even if you can’t literally touch someone today, you can reach out directly, and let them know how and why they matter to you.

Not only will it do a world of good for them, it will do the same for you.

And maybe, just maybe, it will do good for the world.

Email Karen at NaplesKCC@gmail.com or join in with her life in Naples adventures. Give her a follow @Naplesbythenumbers on Instagram

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