Strangers with seemingly little in common can begin to form a friendship at the least-likely times. During the early days of her widowhood, my mother-in-law was visited by a stranger, an emissary from a religious group very different from her own Christian community. The stranger was making a group-related "cold call," knocking randomly on doors in out of the way places. She had no idea about the death in the family when she knocked on my mother-in-law's door. When she learned about the death pretty quickly, she asked if there was anything she could do to help.
My mother-in-law told me that she did not want the stranger to think that helping might start any future "talk about religion." She told the stranger, straight away, that she had family nearby to help her. She made her feelings clea: "I don't want to talk about religion with you."
The visitor said she understood and agreed, yet her offer to help remained open. "Would you mind if I come to visit you again?"
Now, one might think that the stranger hoped to return so as to carry out her mission... and to talk religion. Yet, when she returned, she did not mention it.
My mother-in-law said they had regular visits up until she left Florida years later. By the time she left, she and the visitor on that earliest days of mourning had become friends.
I wonder what they did talk about. Maybe they both just enjoyed having the company and conversation. There must be many places where friendships can form around the edges of loss and, sometimes, around the edges of differences. Maybe it can happen more, in other country and city places.
Copyright (c) 2013 Opinari Writers and Jean Purcell