It was Friday afternoon, the day after a restless night of sleep; my body was dragging, and there was not enough time to hop in bed for a power nap, let alone cross off items on the to-do list before gathering for a social outing. Do I listen to my body and stay home for a nap, or, do I listen to my desire to connect and go out?
Life here has been quiet at times; the social side of me receiving less attention than it does back at home, so I decide to put my work and a nap aside, knowing there will be ample time for both later. The chance to gather with this new community, however, does not happen every day… and besides, two of them will be gone for a week beginning tomorrow.
So, we pile into one car and drive to the nearest town for a beer. On the way, I am encouraged to embrace the momentum of the windy roads and grow closer with my new friends sitting on my right and left. Conversation includes recollections of our oddest jobs… and whether we would rather donate plasma or be a nude model for an art class. Laughter ensues.
At the brewery, we–or rather I–taste a bunch of beers before ordering a completely different one–and we find a spot outdoors around a rectangular fire pit. Six of us enter into various conversations, and the hour flies by before we have to return for dinner. As we–or perhaps again just I–walk the streets of Leavenworth tipsy, memories of being in college wandering these same streets after wine tasting with friends surfaces, and I’m all of the sudden led into my own world, reflective and grateful.
The choice to go out with this lovely and diverse group of people was, in hindsight, not as trivial as I thought. It was, rather, a marker of my commitment to move deeper and deeper into a life of belonging, meaning, and joy. Sure, I could have stayed and allowed myself the space to rest, and that would have held its graces, too. But, the chance to laugh, discuss future hopes and past regrets with our hands warming over the fire, was to embrace the gift of this moment and pave the way for future decisions to be made with increasing levels of wisdom and want.