Dear Parisa

June 23, 2014

I am entering uncharted territory.

Next week, I will be living in a world that doesn’t have a little dog named Coco visiting me every evening for a long walk and a cuddle on the couch. Well not a cuddle. He sits in my lap and tries to lick the moisturizer off my face. But that sounds kind of gross.

Tonight, my daughter looked puzzled when I asked her if she wanted me to read her a bed time story. Now that she’s finishing the fourth grade, she can read for herself. I guess that is why we sent her to school in the first place.

My minister gave her last sermon this morning. I don’t know what it’s going to like not hearing her voice. She has a low voice, a throaty voice, she pauses in unexpected places, like Christopher Walken, but in a nice way. At her going away party tonight, my heart broke a little.

At first I thought my misery was just because she was leaving.I’m not a huge fan of the simple fact of life that people do tend to come and go in and out of our lives as easily as we pass thru revolving doors at the mall.For some of us, even easier.

Next I thought I was grieving because no one asked me to speak about how I felt about her departure.

I’ve come to what is probably a temporary conclusion- I’m sad because she’s going, and I’m even sadder because I never had the chance to say why she meant so much to me.

Parisa, (that’s the name of my minister, and yes, that’s her real name, isn’t it cool?) made me feel like I was special. Now I know that doesn’t sound like much. I mean, God’s children, or children of the universe, we are all snow flakes, everyone’s special in their own unique way, deck the halls and fa la la.

But when I entered that church for the first time, I felt very, very small. I felt like I should bring my own snacks to social hour. I couldn’t imagine I had anything to share with kids in religious education, or anything interesting to talk about over coffee or any gifts other than the ability to stay awake during a sermon.

A few years after joining First Parish, Parisa addressed me with the words- “Dear Julie…”

I don’t remember what she said after that. She might have been asking me to go find a broom, or stop stepping on her robe, or help out with the kids at the Christmas pageant. But I remember how those words made me feel. I thought, “Parisa thinks I’m dear.”

(“Dear” is not often an adjective used to to describe 49 year old women who are a little clumsy, sometimes loud and quite often unsure of themselves. It was a gift.)

And it felt really, really, good. And I’ve carried that feeling with me ever since. Not all the time. Not even half the time, to be honest. But enough of the time that I am probably a little more dear, and special, and worthwhile because Parisa thinks I am.

And now Parisa is leaving, and Coco is moving with his family to Atlanta. And Katy doesn’t need me to read her bedtime stories anymore.

But I will move thru the rest of the time in my territory, the charted and the wildly unfamiliar, knowing that a very wise, smart, funny, woman thinks I’m pretty damn special. Dear as a matter of fact. So I’m sure I will be able to figure it out.

Thank you, Parisa. I needed that.

I guess I understand now it’s time for you to get busy and lift up the rest of the world.