I visited my dear friend Rose in her home town over the weekend. It was a long drive so I had a lot of time to think about Rose, my family, my online family, my home, little Gracie and what I want to do next year. I need to be alone when I think about important and complex issues and it takes me a long time to sort out how I feel and what I should be doing. But the end result for me is that I go forward with a clear plan in mind and, usually, the belief that I'm doing the right thing.
A nurse took a photo of us and when Rose looked at it she asked me to share it with you.
The afternoon I spent with Rose was a delight. She didn't know I was coming so when I walked in she was surprised. We talked all afternoon, we laughed and read some threads on the forum, Rose's mother, Mavis, and husband, Tony, came in for a short visit and we carried on chatting. Rose is in a good room. It has a balcony and it overlooks the Pacific Ocean and although she is confined to bed she can look out onto the wide blue yonder.
Many people have said that it was a long drive for such a short time but I don't look at my trip that way. I believe that good friendships and family relationships need help to survive and flourish and when that happens, especially during difficult times, it strengthens the ties that bind more than anything else. I don't care how long it took, how difficult it was, how much it cost, it was worth it to be with Rose when she needed another friend at her side. I believe it was time well spent and that our friendship and the physical demonstration of it, will help her in coming days. It will help me too.
Rambling along the backroads is such an interesting way of travelling. You see people, animals and places you never see along busy highways. The interaction of people in and with their home towns is an inspiration to me. As you know, I often stay at home for weeks at a time so it is important for me to get out occasionally and experience community life as it unfolds. Driving through small towns and sometimes stopping to have a break or a cup of tea, gives me valuable time to observe ordinary folk like me going about their days. Seeing people out and about, sitting on verandahs, at the farm gate, shopping, gardening or playing with children in the yard confirms my belief that it is strong families who make a country strong and resilient. And as I travel onwards, it reminds me that home is the most important place for all of us and that returning home is an important and significant part of every journey.
And when I returned home, Hanno and Jamie were here and when Gracie saw me she ran around with her ears down and tail up, making funny noises and not really knowing what to do next. I slept well that night. I've spent time with a good friend, looked around this great country of ours and had many hours to think of today and tomorrow. What had been unclear in my mind about the coming months is now clear, I have a firm plan for the coming year and I feel enthusiastic and primed for what's ahead.