Last night I had a lovely dinner with two friends in their home. As we sat around the table eating oatmeal cookies and drinking decaf coffee at eleven o'clock at night I once again took in how amazing my life has become since making my list. The dream to have a group of friends who love to get the most out of life has been my best dream come true. After making my list I made a promise to myself, I would say 'yes' to every opportunity that came to me. When I was asked by my interfaith committee to be a representative at a national conference I had no idea that it would bring me a new family. Before the conference, I was introduced to Dave and Leann who were also attending. A former priest and nun who found love in mid-life, married and had a beautiful family, they took me into their hearts.
As we sat talking last night, they told stories of when they first fell in love. Leann, who'd gone into the convent at fourteen, had never been out of the cloister when she met Dave. Dave, a Jesuit priest, had recently left the priesthood because he felt he could do more good in the community as a teacher. Leann had never driven, balanced a check book, or been on her own, but she took a leap of faith and moved to California to marry Dave.
They had little money and so their entertainment was walking in the park, playing cards and Frisbee and spending time talking as they became the best of friends. This Christmas I helped them decorate their tree. Out of boxes came the most beautiful ornaments: drums made from felt covered bouillon containers; soldiers made from toilet paper rolls; angels and kings made out of cardboard. To look at these precious ornaments you would never know that they cost pennies to make. They had nothing so they were creative.
As Dave and Leann tell the stories of their life together the love between them is apparent. Pictures of their children and eight grandchildren line the walls of their elegant but homey house. Laughter has always been a part of their lives as they recall practical jokes they played on one another going as far as Leann once dumping a bucket of cold water over Dave while he was in the shower.
To entertain their children, they dressed up in crazy outfits. Leann has pictures of her in the costumes she created to teach her kindergarten students their colors. They had nothing in the way of money, but they had everything in the way of life.
As we discussed my journey, I told them that I wondered if I was making the wrong decision. Nothing of what I'm doing is practical. I have no idea where the finances will come from to go after what I want. My savings are definitely smaller now then when I I started. At times I feel very alone. All the fears that sit on my shoulders every day came pouring out.
Leann said to me, "Dave was forty-one when we got married. We had nothing, yet we found everything. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and go where your heart tells you. My head told me I was crazy. I barely knew this man, he was thirteen years my senior, and I had never really known love from another person. I had lost so many people in my life and I was angry and hurting. Yet, here comes Dave. He was patient and kind. He made me laugh and he's given me so much. You follow your heart, Missy. Forget what your head says, it's your heart that knows what's right. If I had listened to my head and all my fears, I would've missed out on all of this."
Sometimes all there is in life is a leap of faith.