Building Kinder

I am not the only one with unbearably big plans. Charles François Ribart, an engineer, proposed a gargantuan fountain in the shape of an elephant be erected in the park on the Champs Elysees in Paris. It was to be in honor of King Louis XV.Sectional views inside the elephant reveal a ballroom, bedrooms, and a dining room decorated as a forest.

I drove home in a quiet car with a good friend last night. Amy is the kind of person that makes you calmer by proximity. I love her and hope I always know her. She also happens to be a much better writer than me, so I am perpetually jealous of her.

It should be complicated, but I just love her too much for that.

(Did I mention I love her?)

We talked while we passed through the night at 65 miles per hour. She let me cry and worry about the same things she has let me worry about before.

" I don't know where to put my time. I feel like a kid building with Legos. I want to build something like the Lego palace in the toy commercials. You know, a 12 bedroom, 10 bath affair. So I build a little here, a little there, rarely in the same place and almost never with the same plans . My scattered constructions never get higher. And I am left with all these pathetic Lego huts. The kind of thing you stub your toe on before throwing the blocks back into the toy box." (Yes, when trying to put my life's problems into a metaphor I naturally gravitate towards Legos. What can I say? I am an incredibly classy and deep lady.)

And then she said all the things someone like me needs to hear.  She told me we need to be gentle with ourselves. That perhaps the business of palace building includes too much pressure. And that maybe, just maybe I undervalue the progress I have made.

She said what I needed to hear, Amy has a way of doing that. But she did something else, something I needed so much more. She sat with me, listened with me, mourned with me, hoped with me. For the space of a few moments she took my problems up and made them lighter.

When I left that car and that ride home, I felt renewed. Being truly listened to by a good friend can do that. And, tonight at least, I am able to see my imperfect attempts at building perfection with a little more clarity. Yes, there have been stairways that go nowhere and unexpected demolitions. And to be perfectly honest, I don't think I ever pulled the right permits.

But I am building and, right now, I think that is all that matters.