Last night, I did something I rarely do. I sobbed. I think I scared our dog as I sat on the sofa beside her, sobbing.
You see, it was my fiftieth birthday and I was home alone after a hard week at work. My husband, who had taken me out to dinner the night before,was driving to New England with our 16-year-old son for a long weekend of cyclocross races and college visits. I hadn't seen our younger son since the evening before because I left for work in the morning before he awoke. He spent the afternoon at an away middle school soccer game, then returned to the high school with his teammates to watch a boys' varsity game and then a home high school football game.
The house was quiet. I felt so very alone. I dialed my sister in New York. She didn't pick up. Then, I decided to call a woman I only have known for a few months but whose friendship I have come to cherish. She is a deeply religious woman, and a divorced mother of three school-aged children.
She answered her cell and,through tears, I explained my predicament. "Let me take you out to dinner," she said. I washed my face and left the house. I walked past the high school football game and over to her house and we then walked together to the very same Italian restaurant my husband had taken me to the night before. We talked and laughed over our salads and desserts and decaffeinated coffees. We talked about our children, our faith, our jobs and how we handle disappointment.
Then she drove me home, and sat with me in her car, giving me much-needed advice on landscaping our property and sprucing up our detached garage. She promised to come back Sunday afternoon to give more tips. I know she will.
"On the question of relating to our fellowman – our neighbor’s spiritual need transcends every commandment. Everything else we do is a means to an end. But love is an end already, since God is love."
St. Edith Stein