As part of my series I'm sharing this month on place and happiness, I thought for Franca's birthday, which arrives this week, I'd share a photo montage of all the places we've lived together. A kind of subliminal introspection that we might have the whole damn thing backwards. That the premise of finding a place you love and in which you can belong cannot stand up to the probability that being with someone you love is where you belong. Or something to that effect.
The point is, as I was going through the photo albums after years, sometimes decades, having had passed between now and then, I began to appreciate that it's not where we've lived that has mattered so much as it was that she was there, wherever where was. From East Tennessee to Eastern NC, she made those places brighter, better, the kind of home from where we could be content, but also learn and grow and share in the loving comfort of one another. In other words, it wasn't where that mattered most, but the who.
And I feel like I'm not alone.
So if it's true—and I believe that it is—that the goodness of a person spreads in all directions, this week I'm encouraging friends, family and anyone who knows her to share their own pictures of this beautiful, delightful, kindhearted and loving person we've all been so fortunate to have in our lives at one time or another. She's a rock, a champion and a grateful friend to so many.
I don't say that enough to her and in doing so now I invite you to add your own voice to my own—even if you don't know her personally, you know someone like her and can probably come up with something to say to that person as to what gives them their special something. If not, the internet is full of suggestions. If after you feel like tagging her—or your own “Franca” on social media, please feel free to do so. Here are her Facebook and Instagram handles.
It has been easy, for me personally, what with all that has been going on, to forget that in a relationship the search for longing, purpose and place is not a one way street. I am not the only pilgrim, here. Being by her side, now, in this, or any other endeavor I've ever taken on or risk we've taken together, has proven to me time and time again that she makes my world bigger no matter where we call home.
Happy Birthday, amore mio.