My friend, Priscilla Warner, once said of finding her true love, Jimmy, that it was like “two fish swimming toward the light” when they met. That image has stayed with me since, along with the look on her face as she said it, bright and purposeful, after decades of swimming and marriage. I saw the phosphorescence, the silver flecked scales, the scuttling people do in love.
I was listening to a voicemail from her this week when the memory returned. She was, again, volunteering to read some of the book and cheering me toward my looming deadline, like a friendly fish swimming up beside me directing, “There’s the light; keep swimming!” I mean, if fish could leave voicemails.
It occurred to me this morning that all we can hope to do or be for one another, especially when facing a challenging goal or difficult life transition, is company for the swim and assurance that there’s light ahead. I’ve had a few friends and students confide painful struggles lately– in relationships, with loss, or fighting illness. One student, also a yoga teacher, recently shared that she felt helpless knowing her father was ill overseas. What could she do so far away?
She could pray, I offered, suggesting that prayer need not be dogmatic, just honest. You can hold someone in your light, in their pain or suffering, without getting caught up in whom or to what you’re praying.
Good challenges or painful ones, you can always swim up alongside and, say, look there’s some light ahead. Keep going. And if they don’t pick up, you can leave your friend or love a message.