We all have people in our lives who hold special places in our hearts. They are the members of our chosen family, the people who find places in our hearts and minds, in the homes we build within our souls for those hearts we care about. These special people exist in all shapes and sizes, all genders and occupations. There is no across the board uniformity for them, though they all share one trait. They are genuine souls we feel a connection to and so we want to protect them and get them the best they can have. Like all special things though, sometimes we share them, others we hide them from the world. You can understand then how special it is for me when someone shares on of the "special people" with me as a connection.
Karen Wohlrab is a special person. It doesn't take more than a few moments to realize that. She has a wonderful heart, truly seeking joy for other, and she is always present. I have said several times before, but presence is truly the greatest indicator of appreciation for another human being, and the details which Karen gathers as she talks to you show how much she appreciate you. She approaches the world with wonder. Our meeting this morning was on Folly Beach, and she looks out over the Atlantic with an incredible awe and joy. Her eyes dance along the shore, bouncing from one person to another, taking in the great variety of color, the details of events and the amazing cast of characters that pass with each second.
Karen is a person whose heart is huge. She genuinely has an incredible amount of love for people, especially those who are close to her. Sitting on the sand with her, we talk about her story. We talk about her children, about the fear of a parent watching their children grow and move out on their own, as well as the accompanying joy and excitement to see what they will make of their path in this world. You can see the pride and the love as she talks about them. Honestly, you can feel the love coming from Karen like the waves hitting the beach. It's the nature of her heart to love, the nature of her soul to share that love with others. The sun is not the warmest thing on the beach.
Her path has not been easy. Like all of us, Karen has her own baggage, her own parade of tragedies and losses to play out. We spend time on the sand sharing our smiles and cries, our mutual friend, the person who shared this amazing woman with me today, walks down the beach. We share the stories of days that carry such pain for us, such loss and fear that we both wish they would just be over before they start. Karen tells me about how she loves to volunteer, to help and aid her community. It is just what you do when people are in need, she observes. I tell her about my volunteer work on one given day every year, how I use it to shift my perspective from myself to other, my pain from harming myself to serving others. Karen is the same way. We are kindred hearts in mourning, using that pain and baggage to aid the burden for another. In service we find our way to relief and, possibly, even salvation.
Karen is originally from Rochester and we talk about people from different places, their ways and their beauty. Much like we all have our own baggage, we are all beautiful. That great diversity is one of the things that makes us such. She tells me about her experience moving here, I tell her about my journeys as well. We share the stories and characters we have collected in our lives. We share our lives with each other, like the most beautiful picnic on the coast of South Carolina. I like Karen a lot. She feels like family from the moment we greet each other, and I can instantly see why she is so special to people.
Karen is a treasure, a wondrous array of smiles and cries that I have had the pleasure of spending hours on the beach with. Their is the chance this may be the most perfect weather for awhile, and the most perfect company has made it even better. If this is to be my last beach day for any length of time, I can be very happy with that. Karen is a special person. I am so glad she found her way into my life as well.
The lesson, do not hide the special people in your life. Rejoice in them and share them with the world, they are treasures which we should all witness.
Favorite Dinosaur: Dinosaur Barbecue (an amazing restaurant in Rochester and Syracuse)
Why: It was the most magical place, full of wonder and requiring the investment of even more time to fully enjoy it. The proof is in Karen's smile as she describes it. (I love this answer)