Last night my daughter and I participated in a walk to raise support and awareness for the homeless and poor among us. We started out from a downtown community centre/church. Aris and I were doing this by ourselves, and I was a bit nervous. Mostly because I had committed to walking 5k in the cold and dark. I should have been nervous because I had committed to walk 5 k with my 7yr old who likes to lie down in the snow...but that's another story.
We arrived early and had to wait about 40 minutes after registering to begin our walk. For awhile we just sat there alone, Aris crawling all over me. It was all I could do not to scream. After about 15 minutes, another mom came over with her little girl. As the woman sat down, she looked at me as if I was familiar. Then she started asking questions. Perhaps I went to the same church, Bible study, no? All of a sudden a light went on. She remembered that our children had danced at the same time two years ago. We both had infants and had struck up a friendship during the couple of months their classes overlapped. We chatted, catching up, and then agreed to walk together.
At first, it was a bit rough. She was with a team. We tried to keep up, but our girls were being silly so we kept getting farther and farther behind. Then our conversation took an awkward turn when I asked a question that perhaps I shouldn't have asked. We kept walking. We walked through the downtown core, past statues that were walking on the building. We walked past construction, past old buildings and new. Then we walked through the park while the snow was gently falling. As we turned to leave the park, we saw people feeding a crowd of ducks. It was rather impressive. The girls wanted to play, but we just wanted to keep going. Soon we reached our halfway point for hot chocolate and cookies.
After striking out again, the conversation turned to how we met and how unusual that was. At the beginning levels, I've noticed that the parents don't often talk together, preferring to stick to themselves or to friends they've made previous. Sometimes that half an hour can seem awfully long. My companion mentioned that sometimes the conversation turns to husband-bashing which makes her very uncomfortable. I agreed, as I tend to speak very favourably about my husband. I mentioned this and how much of this springs from how wonderful my husband has been to support me during periods of depression, especially during the long, drawn-out period of post-partum depression.
As soon as I mentioned this, our conversation changed. My new friend has been there too, dealing with anxiety as well as depression. We began to share stories, of our struggles and our healing. After that revelation, we talked and talked and talked some more. After we finished our walk, we shared dinner together and just kept talking. We exchanged email addresses and hugs, and then after a tour of the food pantry, finally stopped talking and went home to put our tired daughters to bed. We both think it was a divine appointment.
During these times of trials, God keeps bringing people into my path who can understand. There isn't anyone with the same story, but there are many people with whom I can share bits of understanding. And each piece, each new(and old) friendship, brings a bit more healing, a bit more of stable ground on which to stand. I am so very grateful for the web of support that surrounds me.