On Being Seen

You try not to love them because they always leave. And kissing, well, kissing always makes it even harder. Don’t mix, don’t mingle. Just make drinks, serve sweets, and high tail it back up the mountain to keep at the writing. But of course, the draw of working at the craft school is the community that comes along with it. We’re all pushing and striving for something, together, and we express that in different mediums. As varied as everyone’s art is, perhaps the language of the heart is the one place we find our most common ground.

So when the Israeli (my unsuspecting gallery date) leaves me a lovely clay pot and note, signed, “Thank you for sharing a small part of your life with me. I’ll return home with a small part of you within,” I’d be lying if I said my heart didn’t skip a beat. And as we continue to nurture such lovely connection this week, I’d be lying, too, if I said I could watch him leave without a second thought. Indeed, my heart has hardened some in the past year (and perhaps for the better), but with this Spring’s thaw has come a little warming in my chest when I least expected it.

And so it goes—this latest batch of 64 students will leave in two days. They’ve been here for two months and I know many of them by name, even more of them by drink, and a few of them by their artwork. In a month we’ll be thrust into our summer schedule with 180 new students every two weeks. They move so quickly and keep us so busy behind the counter there is but time to look and they are gone.

It would not be accurate to say that I have fallen for someone…not at all. What is true is this: For a night or two, I was seen for who I am and appreciated for that. Someone took the time to see the whole person, hear the whole story, nurture the whole body. Likewise, I took the time to explore a new connection, cherish a new friend, listen to his whole story. Two days remain. I cast a cold eye to Hope, cling tightly to Resilience, and bid bon voyage to Communion, knowing that somewhere in Israel, a small part of me is carried within. I like to think that for now, that is all this writer needs.

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