I didn’t know how much I valued her until that exact moment. She came into the room, walked forward in my direction, and stood next to me. No good morning. No initiating a conversation. No explanation for why she was there. She was just stood beside me.

Just. Being. Near.

After a few moments, she reached around and gave me a quick hug, then walked out of the room.

Nothing audible was exchanged, but there was interchange, nonetheless. Her nearness suggested,

I like you.

I trust you.

I am comfortable with you.

I know you and I understand you.

I choose your company.

Her nearness, her standing by, her “being there” also evoked memories of other such times–a rich history of support and walking alongside.  I was overcome with a sense of rightness in my small part of the world. A way of belonging in it. I experienced a moment of true peace.

It didn’t cost her a thing and it all happened in a matter of seconds.

It has lingered with me for days.

Sure, we all have our personal space–the circumference of which varies from person to person; circumstance to circumstance. Certain folks are allowed to snip the invisible lines and cozy up. Some are politely invited to take a vacation in the other direction.

When it comes to people who matter to us, and especially those who know us and accept us as we are, personal space becomes elastic. Not only do we open our borders, but there is something mysteriously wondrous about being close to another person of import. Something that enhances our humanity.

I would even venture to say that creatures in nature have some sense of the value of being “next to” and “near”. Capturing a shot of the caterpillars below made me smile and offered a light-hearted diversion in my musings and ponderings…

Caterpillar Frat

I watched a short video clip a few weeks ago, which a few thousand other people watched as well, apparently. The star is a sweet girl-child who sings with her daddy (link may take take several seconds to load).  She is three years old, and yes, I suppose she has a great little voice, and is talented beyond her years.

This is merely a guess on my part, because, even though I have watched the video several times, I have yet to actually listen to her sing with real concentration. I couldn’t tell you the words, or even the name of the song.

All I can really pay attention to are her hands.

She can’t take them off of her daddy’s elbow. She sits as close as possible without actually sitting on his lap. All throughout the video, her hands tell a story–the story of what it means to be “next to”; what it means to “there”. She is more there than anywhere else. It is evident that she does not want to be anywhere else…but to be next to one who totally embraces who she is. Totally values her presence.

I can not watch the video without recognizing that nearness is what makes the visual experience so rich.

Daddy never flicks her hand off. He has no measure of irritation. Certainly, he cannot be totally comfortable with a roving hand on his elbow while playing his instrument, yet he is fully at ease.

They are in the circle together.

Like my friend was.

Like I want to be when someone needs me–or just needs some company.

I want to become someone’s good memory.

Perhaps someday, I will finally take the time to listen to the pair in the video, but for now, all I can hear is what they are not saying.