Yesterday morning I had the good fortune to catch up with my good friend, Lynne Hughes. Lynne is the founder of the nonprofit Comfort Zone Camp, which serves young people ages 7-17 year-round. She also authored, You Are Not Alone: Teens Talk About Life After the Loss of a Parent. A very successful professional, wife and mother of two, she has much remaining to contribute.
Over the course of a couple of hours with topics changing smoothly, like the gears of a race car, the discussion took to the long road like a luxury sedan, providing for an enjoyable and uninterrupted journey with a friend.
We discussed my recent book, Hello, Old Friend, now available on Amazon.com. One of the book’s early chapters, Life is a Series of Intersections, presents life’s journey as an intersection of introductions, both as teacher and as student. Lynne provided a colloquial sheen to this subject, offering “Individuals come into our life for a season.” She went on to say how people are introduced to our life at interesting times. When we travel, when we shop, or even when we simply are out having a cup of coffee. Many times, though, they come to us in our moments of need.
Lynne herself has been that person for a season many, many times. Her life has intersected with so many young (in age only!) people emotionally coping with the loss of a loved one.
I like the weight connoted by “season,” as it suggests more than a fleeting moment in time. It conveys to me an investment. Just as the title of the book, Three Cups of Tea, comes from a Tibetan proverb: “The first time you share tea, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family,” season suggests a journey that builds a friendship, a trust.
Lynne shared the travails of building trust with young people whose life has taken a painful monumental turn. She is quite masterful at soothing and calming the hard outer shell that protects our innermost fears and soul, allowing the hurt and pain to release and to begin the healing journey. As she talked, it seemed the light in the room got brighter. The passion, confidence and authority that she emits when she is immersed on this topic confirm she is present, authentic and expressive, the three elements one should bring to every meaningful conversation.
I’m left with this lingering thought – “How often are we that person of a season?”
Do we aim to move from ‘stranger’ to ‘honored guest’ to ‘family’ over our intersections with acquaintances? Can we readily count off those individuals with whom we made that investment? Or, do we more often “bump and run” at our intersections, trying to remember what we discussed and the currency we traded?
Yesterday served as a reminder for me to work harder to ensure my future intersections are rich and substantive. I hope you’ll consider joining me on this learning journey.
If you’d like to read more from Lynne’s Relationship ‘Seasons’: How Loss Changes Your Perspective, here’s the access to her article: