Joy is a capacity rather than a state of being. Joy is the capacity of the heart to quiver in the presence of the lovely. —Christina Feldman.
I met Sue ten years ago today. I was still new to Portland, and a mutual acquaintance invited me to a bi-monthly Buddhist meditation group meeting at Sue's house. I dithered and delayed going for nearly a year, despite my hunger for community and like-minded spirits. Sue's house was across the river in a part of town I was unfamiliar with, and I am such an introvert that I find walking into a stranger’s house full of people I’ve never met seriously daunting. During that year I had discovered the blog Sue was then keeping, and I’d gotten a sense of her as poetic, wry, and tender. I often commented on her pithy blog posts. Finally my curiosity overcame my social anxiety and I showed up.
I had an immediate frisson, as if I were meeting someone I’d known in childhood but not seen for decades. I don’t even remember the other fifteen people who sat in the circle that day. I was fascinated by the way she moved, by her laughter, her kindness. She was radiant. As I left her house, she walked me to the door, took my hand in hers, and said confidently, “Let’s be good friends.” Years later she would tell me that on that first meeting, she had the shocking idea that I was “her person.”
We made an appointment to meet for a walk in her neighborhood the following Sunday. During that walk, we talked about how we discovered Buddhism, who our teachers had been, and why we continued our practice. At some moment she opened her arms wide, taking in an avenue of trees and a patch of sky and earth, and said, “There’s all this! And we’re part of it. By meditating, we can just sink in and feel connected. So why wouldn’t we do that?”
That was the moment when I fell in love with her. She continued to check me out as our friendship deepened. Two years later, she decided I would do.