The lunch meeting was scheduled to begin around 11:30 a.m. I had fretted over what to wear.  I wanted to make a good impression but I wasn’t sure what they would really mean;  professional business attire or casual attire?  I chose linen pants in a mustard color, a navy and white striped shirt, a denim jacket, and black flats with a faux bow.

          Of course, since the lunch was to start at 11:30, I arrived by 11:15; it is a curse.  I waited patiently for the other attendees to arrive.  I was excited to meet the three women.  One of them traveled from out of state and was conducting family business.  Another attendee was relatively local after having returned from living abroad.  The third had come to the meeting from about two and a half hours away.  I had driven in from five hours away.

          As the meeting began, Ms. Maxwell kicked things off by offering some material samples and we were asked our drink order.  Another point of decision:  is it appropriate to order a glass of wine this early?  I think it will help me relax a bit so I do.  Luckily, they too order a drink of their choice and we move into general small talk to warm up and I order an appetizer for the group.  Food always builds relationships.

          As the conversation becomes more engaging, I realize how much I am enjoying getting to know these women.  I almost feel like I am out of my body, hovering above the table, watching the four strangers get acquainted. 

          Ms. Maxwell is officially retired and shared her passions of what Richard Rohr would label as filling the container she built in the first part of life.  We learn a bit about marriages, children, and career.  Her motivation, drive, and wisdom are admirable.

          Ms. Smith came in from Cypress, Texas.  Several times during the meeting I noted she was really quiet.  I could tell she is a deep thinker, processing the meeting’s dialogue.  She is in education working with youth who are sight-impaired.  But her real energy bubbles forth when she speaks of her own two children.  One graduates from college within the month to enter a health career.  Another is about to get his college ring.  She has raised these two amazing individuals alone after her husband, their dad, was tragically killed while they were babies.  I cannot imagine what it had to be like to have no one to trade everyday duties with.  No one to help with the dishes while she gave the kids their baths every night.  Every night.  Her strength, perseverance, and determination are palpable.

          Ms. Wier has returned to live relatively near after an incredible living abroad experience.  She is the certified public accountable; tremendous analytical mind and so much business savvy!  As we got to know her, Ms. Wier gave example after example of such a humble spirit, a radiance of purse love and light, and simply; grace.  I can tell she is someone others can easily feel safe to share their vulnerabilities, fears, and secrets.  She just responds with grace and love.

          As the meeting I had planned for an hour-ish stretched into hour four, we had learned about life journeys, shared stumbles along the road that brought us strangers to this table.  As we shared the good, the bad, and the future hopes, the four strange women found something familiar.  Pieces of each bubbled up and the four little girls who were the greatest of friends thirty-eight years ago realized those years apart did not really create strangers.  It offered a new opportunity to return to a few core values, sacred connections which have now gotten new life breathed into them.

          I now look forward to the “Fab 4’s” Zoom conversations and planning.  How are we going to leave our mark on this world?  How will we use each of our gifts to move boldly forward?  We do not yet have a clue, but we do have our connection!  I thought it had been lost, but really it was like the root system of the bamboo plant, forming and growing for years under the surface, just waiting to shoot through the earth.

          I celebrate you dear friends as we walk into this next amazing chapter!

As we shared the good, the bad, and the future hopes, the four strange women found something familiar.