I think "conversations" are named as such because they allow your heart to converge with the heart of another person. The best of them leave you feeling enriched, inspired and if you're really lucky, renewed. They sometimes move you to tears. So, you look away from your conversation partner or feign an itchy eye. (A propensity for shedding tears has made me quite adept at these maneuvers.) Great conversations are organic and need no catalyst. They just happen, and rattle your core for the better.
You learn a lot about someone when you take the time to converse. Typically, you can tell what a person values. Their disposition too. Are they a pessimist or eternal optimist? Do they keep a firm exterior, but every so often grant you a glimpse of vulnerability? Do their eyes widen with pride when they talk about their children? Or do they cringe when they talk about an unsavory encounter, as they search for some reassurance that their life has not been ruined even if it feels as such. If you listen hard enough to someone else, they just might teach you something about yourself too, and remind you of your pocket of paradise.
I find it funny that something special can stare us in the face day in and out and we never realize it until someone else points it out. There are times I feel as if I am in control of or have been able to do very little, until another person convinces me otherwise. Their stamp of approval and reassurance are just enough to override my internal doubt (for the time being). We want different things, things we don't have, until someone tells us that we are lucky to have what we have; for a moment in time we are contented that someone validated who we are, and where we are. We stop seeking greener grass.
Recently, I had such a conversation. We talked of snow mobiles, fishing, vacation homes too. Life with kids and how it compares to life before kids, and reservations about knowing when the right time is to have kids. Family dinners and gift giving. What makes a home versus a house? How to establish a comfortable balance of money and time, and determining personal and professional goals. Finding one's purpose, a desire for clarity, and the profound importance of patience and hard work.
I left the conversation feeling grateful for dinnertimes, my family who love me despite my imperfections, for a short commute, a warm home, and the understanding of others. For friends and colleagues, memories from summers at the bay even if we no longer have the house there, and a solid education even though I have loans that are not going away anytime soon. For sausage and peppers, crusty Italian bread, a fire, and the sacrifices of veterans and their families. Grateful for the unknown. Although I hunger certainty, it would be dreadfully dull to always know what was coming, I imagine. Most of all, I was grateful for that candid conversation and a pocket of paradise all my own.