Yesterday evening I left my noisy household, where Boy in Black was practicing the drums and the younger kids were playing some kind of game, drove to a Chinese restaurant to pick up some food, and went to the quiet house of a close friend, Quilt Artist. I had had a difficult week, writing and thinking about my issues with my brother, and I knew that talking to a friend would help.
We sat in her living room, surrounded by gorgeous artwork, mostly quilts full of colour and movement, and talked quietly for hours. We've known each other for years, long enough to joke with each other about our faults and weaknesses, long enough to be honest and direct. So we talked, we analyzed relationships, we told stories, and by the end of the evening, we were laughing at ourselves.
We both have a tendency to indulge in melodrama, making a big deal out of little things that most people would brush aside. But Quilt Artist commented that we both also have a tendency to brush aside the really big issues in our lives. "It is not just that we make mountains out of molehills," she said, "But we also make molehills out of mountains."
We did not solve any of the problems of the world, or even any of the problems in our relationships. But talking to a close friend works like nothing else in helping to ground me and keep my life in balance. I need that outside perspective that forces me to turn off the CDs spinning inside my head and makes me notice the sounds of the world around me. As I drove home, through city streets speckled with moonlit puddles and through country roads that wove their way through a misty fog, I felt relaxed and peaceful.