I spent last night sick, and disinclined to write. Tonight, although I was in quite a lot of pain and my traveling partner was feeling somewhat unwell, we spent a handful of hours hanging out. I am still smiling. I’m inclined to say more – certainly the evening is on my mind. I don’t know that I have the words.

Sometimes when I hang out with someone, I walk away from the interaction still feeling very much that we are strangers. Other times – other people – it is easy to connect deeply, to be open and comfortable, to be easy with each other, and walk away afterward feeling closer, and feeling connected. This evening was more than just a pleasant good time together. We spoke intimately on difficult topics, shared our emotions comfortably, and gently, and when we said good-bye at the end of the evening I felt heard, and I felt I knew a little more about my partner’s heart than I did before. I even felt a little more well-understood, myself.

It was an ordinary enough evening when it started. Then, somewhere midway through some possibly completely unrelated bit of conversation, he said…something.  My eyes filled with tears, and his filled with puzzlement. “You said the ‘L word’, I replied, trying to smile. “Loneliness,” I continued, “I’m not very good at talking about it.” I struggled to regain my composure (there really wasn’t anything wrong at all) and explained that for some reason, just hearing the word “loneliness” has the potential to cause my eyes to tear up. He looked at me with such love and empathy. There was no hint of awkwardness, or strain. We talked awhile about loneliness in general, and in our own experiences in life. We talked about solitude, and the things that differentiate those experiences one from the other. It was beautiful. I feel comforted, and supported. I feel loved.

The listening thing is huge. It wasn’t obvious whether or not my traveling partner felt it too. I’ve been practicing ‘listening deeply’; I find the most elegant and lovely explanation in a favorite book on mindful love (How to Love by Thich Nhat Hanh).  The extraordinary intimacy of the conversation, and the evening, was quite wonderful. Comfortable. Easy. The result? A very secure feeling of loving and being loved.

Love.

Love.

I don’t have much of real value to share about tonight; I am wrapped in love, and inclined to relax, feet up, just smiling. Maybe for a while. Some evenings, I sit in the twilight and I wonder. Tonight, I sit in the twilight and marvel.