The gift of sight
Last night I said goodbye to a friend, Molly, who is moving back to the Boston area today after an 8+ week work trip here in St. Louis. When I reflect back on the passage of time, its remarkable how quick the journey from stranger to friend can take place. I am grateful for her friendship for many reasons but there are two in particular, which I must thank her for explicitly.
She helped me regain the ability to see parts of my city right in front of me I had lost perspective on. Despite being a fierce advocate of STL, there are moments when I am down on it or feel my inferiority complex creep up when thinking of it compared to other parts of the country/world. Through the eyes of a traveler, she was both curious about her new surroundings and quick to vocalize how she viewed it compared to the Cambridge/Boston area.
When I'd call out something I see as regrettable or behind the times here, she wouldn't just listen but also point out its existence in the Boston area or the tradeoffs made by people in Boston that came with being there instead. It was not meant to downplay the situation at hand or belittle her own home, only to point out problems area not unique to St. Louis and there is no such things as a perfect place.
The second one is more personal. Much like her resolve to see the best in St. Louis, Molly refused to let me see anything less than the best in myself. I'm fortunate to have a wonderful life full of great family, friends, job and a fulfilling life away from work. But like all of us, there are times I am in struggle with my worthiness or am quick to look at my faults rather than my strengths. Molly is an outwardly public cheerleader who regularly told me to my face the things I need to remember about myself. While I may know these things know at my core, sometimes I choose to discount or downplay them. She called me on the carpet multiple times when she witnessed me in that mindset and often would just say kind things because its in her nature.
On her second-to-last night here, a group of us spent part of the evening in Soulard. As we wrapped up and prepared to head home, we all walked towards our cars up 12th street in the delightful late summer weather. And I remember thinking what a great time it was and how lucky I am to be living the life I am. I then noticed I was the only local in the group and took pride in the people who had come to this place in the center of the country from corners far and near and had fallen in love with it as I have.
Thank you for all that you brought to my life. I will miss you, which I choose to interpret as life saying, you have impacted me in a great way. I wish you nothing but the best. Farewell for now.
Go Forth Boldly