Sometimes the past lingers in the background waiting for a moment to emerge that erupts through the crust of routine in a sudden vortex of clarity. Our existence as sentient Beings connected through mutual awareness often is buried in mundane tedium that encourages us to forget who we really are.
So it was on a Wednesday in July as I went for routine exams at the Medical Center that the past serendipitously slapped me, reminding me that there is something that connects us to those that have touched us deeply as we go through life. No matter how remote we may become from each other, there is some binding medium that keeps us linked.
I had met with one person in particular working on a research and writing project where I was serving as a mentor because the project was of real interest to me. This person would come into the city several times a year, and we would meet as the idea of the research and writing gradually emerged. Suffice it say that this project was an original application of rhetoric to performance practice and interpretation. What was emerging was an exciting creation of a new research domain that provided new tools for investigating music performance. The researcher in question was a consummate pianist whose experience over the years had provided a context for understanding issues of performance and interpretation that transcended more conventional approaches.
These meetings went on for several years, including times when this person would stay with relatives in the city and I was invited to take part in holiday celebrations with the family on several occasions. This person's professional life was extremely rich and demanding, but there were difficulties serving as the primary caretaker for the performer's mother that exacted its toll on many facets of private and public life. There were many interruptions in the performer's life, and the ongoing work was lost in a maelstrom of personal difficulties.
Consequently, the visits for the purpose of pursuing this original and promising research project ceased, and we lost touch. Life continued, and as I came across other people who were involved in their own projects of creation and research, I would remember our many visits and discussions that were linked by many mutual resources and regretted that nothing came of those discussions, of that unfinished business. I never did quite understand why our collegial connection was lost.
Yet on that particular Wednesday, having completed my medical exams, I passed through the lobby of the Center. I usually exit the complex quickly, but for some reason I decided to sit in a waiting area on the main floor. Such moments are always special for me, as I am confirmed people watcher, and the lobby of a medical complex provides an array of interesting subjects. Curiously, I thought of my pianist/researcher friend for no reason at all...wondering what could be going on at that time.
Gradually, I became aware of a man and a woman sitting across from me in the lobby. They looked familiar, but I dismissed this at first because they were some distance across from me and my eyesight currently is not exactly eagle-eyed. Of course one of them was on a cell phone. The voice seemed familiar, but also was filtered from a distance. Then I heard the name of my pianist friend. Just coincidence?
I arose from my chair and walked toward them... "please excuse me," I said, and I asked them if they were related to my friend. Indeed they were, as they were the family members I had met a number of years ago at the holiday gatherings. As it turned out, my friend was on the other end of the line, and we again made contact after so many years.
All of us were astonished at the incandescence of the moment, as though Time and Space had suddenly been torn, and we stepped into a clearing to meet again.