A labor of Love; that is what drew my eyes to the corner house yard I passed on a daily basis on my way to church or other activities in that part of town. I’d admired the tall, wild looking floral varieties growing along the front walkway. Then I watched in awe as the yard was completely dug up, evened out, reseeded and a new landscaping process began.
Now there was a stone post at the corner of the yard and streets, an oblong mulched area in front of the house, an enchanting pathway through a larger growth of flora and fauna to the side of driveway abutting the trees. A small metal retro bench swing sat in front under the shade of the side woods.
How I wished for the opportunity to stop and speak with the creator of this incredible, obvious labor of love. Although I was mesmerized by the outcome, I have to admit that watching the process of digging up the entire yard and replanting made me uncomfortable and engendered negative self-thoughts about knowing my limitations of taking on such a labor-intensive project. Longed for the outcome yet felt totally incapable of such a project.
Fortuitously, one day, on my way to mass, I saw a yard sale being set up there and though in general my family forbids me from frequenting these, I resolved to stop on the way home. What happened next was miraculous. It was a little later in the morning now and the small Columbian woman and what appeared to be her daughter were still scurrying about putting out and organizing items. I walked the perimeter of the sale getting an up-close view of the area behind the swing and wondering at plant varieties I had never seen.
I complimented the women on the aesthetically pleasing arrangement and told her I had been watching the progression. She was taken back to hear this and gracious in her thanks. Slowly, more conversation ensued, and I was enamored with her Columbian accent, though at times had to strain to interpret. I’d spent some time perusing the items and even left and came back with money to be able to purchase a few things.
At this point she and I were opposite each other at a table with a deck of inspirational /gratitude cards. I commented on them and that I was a mental health worker who recognized use for these. She mentioned that she also was a mental health nurse locally. An instant jolt of recognition washed over me and I asked where. With her answer came a strange mix of excitement and dread at the same time. I called her by her name, as now I knew I had spoken with this person over the years on the other end of the phone; and she had not been my favorite person.
I told her my name and where I worked. Her face was also a conglomeration of joy and angst. She said “OOHHH, you have been so gracious and complimentary of me and I have been mean to you.” I said, “Yes you have, and I haven’t been kind to you either.” We laughed at this awkward moment of the in-person admiration and connection we had and the realization of how we’d misjudged each other on the phone.
I learned more about myself and my field of psychology; the power of personal connection, than I had in a long time. I learned about love and how to love another for whom I had previously had disdain and held in contempt. There is more to the story, as our friendship and love for each other has blossomed beyond the beauty I saw in her yard. And, this is enough for now; to share the possibility of relationship transformation.
-Laura, New Hampshire
All Love Letters’ are pristine, posted as they were received. Please forgive any spelling and grammar issues, since the writing was done in the throes of love, and sometimes love doesn’t care about commas or misplaced letters.