If those of us who remain in touch through this medium have learned anything about the friendships that we’ve forged, it’s that they’ve come about through an ongoing exchange of gifts. Whether what we share is of our own making or is the work of someone else, we share it because we find it meaningful and moving in ways we hope will reveal what we’ve learned, how we feel, and who we are. And the very fact that some of us do remain in touch shows that we succeed.
The cumulative nature of our exchange is powerful indeed. It coincides with our need to tell, and to be told, stories the endings of which we understand might never be known, or reached, or resolved. I love you is a song that never grows old. Do you love me is a timeless hope that stirs the soul.
As with our relationships that are conducted face to face, or which began that way, or are steadily moving in that direction, there is no better way to proceed. The distance we travel, and the depths that are revealed, grow in direct proportion to how freely our offerings are made. Our eagerness and generosity give them value.
The other day, when my wife was out walking with our four-year-old grandson, he stopped abruptly when he noticed a withered plant nestled alongside the curb. Plucking from it several dried seed pods, he told her, “These are for Grandpa.” They were given me later, damp from his hand, and all the winters of the world cannot be cold enough or long enough to keep his gift from taking root between us.