A friend of mine has a fabulous New Year’s party on the first Friday after the big day. It is all women, and there is always a question to be pondered and answered.
This year’s question: What was the defining moment in your life? An excellent question all on its own – and especially wonderful when the 30 or 40 women in the room range from 20 to 90! Eating began at six, talking began about 7:30 – and we continued until the clock struck midnight – perfect timing as the last woman was just finished.
The answers were beautiful, powerful, happy, sad, funny – the range of our humanity.
I, of course, as a double Gemini, claimed two moments. Moment Number One was the day I first walked into Cincinnati’s City Hall. Must have been 1966 – I was working on a zoning / planning issue for my community of Bond Hill. We won, over about two years, that issue. But for me the important event happened the minute I put my foot in the door – I was simply home. I recognized that structure in my bones.
It is a magnificent building, designed by architect Samuel Hannaford. Beautiful stone, beautiful details, sweeping spaces, staircases, windows. The ceilings, the stained glass windows, the marble stairs scooped out by a hundred years of feet. Council Chambers lends dignity and power to all proceedings. Years later, I worked there every day. Even now, I’m frequently in the building for meetings, hearings, gatherings. It is still home.
The second defining moment in my life happened nearly 20 years later. I had ended a relationship, but was still at that stage where I was definitely not over it. Whining might be a good description. A friend of mine, no doubt bored to tears by my behavior, bought a deck of Tarot cards just to give me something else to talk about it.
I could read them the minute I looked at them. I did not like what they were saying, but I knew they were telling me what I needed to hear. And now, some 20 years after that, they are simply a part of who I am, of what I do, of the service I offer to the world.
Each moment took me in directions I could / would never have chosen, drawing out my gifts in ways that were unpredictable. And what joy they have given me! As the saying goes – life is what happens when we’re making other plans!