For today’s first, I had the privilege of having lunch at Club 609, in downtown Joplin, with my new friend Nina Johnston. These delightful firsts of connecting with new friends is such a wonderful and unexpected benefit of doing a year of new experiences. I certainly didn’t have “meet new friends” down on my list of possible firsts for the year. I feel blessed, as I journey, to be encountering fellow travelers walking the same way!
Nina and I first met when we both showed up at Local Color Art Gallery & Studio to paint chairs. Sometimes I am accompanied by friends or family members when I do a first. Often I go alone, out of the desire to step out of my comfort zone and move Beyond. Attending the chair painting class was one of my ‘alone’ firsts. I was immediately drawn to Nina. She had just arrived also and we claimed chairs and a table to work at. Painting by dribbling paint directly from the bottle was a new experience for both of us. We laughed and chatted as we worked.
Last Thursday, Nina and I once again attended a painting class at Local Color. It was so good to see her and share in another new experience. The Art Pieces class was fun and we enjoyed talking and encouraging each other as we created our unique works of art. At the end of the class, we made plans for meeting today for lunch at Club 609.
And what a great lunch it was! After admiring the beautiful interior of the restaurant, I ordered something new, a vegetable flat bread pizza, and then settled in for a visit. With a few people on this earth, I’ve met them, seemingly for the first time, and there is instant recognition and a sense of reunion. It’s like that with Nina. This is only the third time we’ve been around each other yet we fall easily into conversation like we are old friends who have known each other forever. She is funny, creative, talented and cares deeply about her family, the well being of others, and animals.
Nina grew up in a town near Toronto, Canada, in a large family, with a father and mother who originated from Poland and England, respectively. They met in England after WWII and later moved to Canada to raise a family. I wondered how one moves from Canada to Joplin, MO, leaving behind friends and family and all that is familiar. Nina shared how her husband began working for a company while still in Canada and eventually accepted an offer to move to Joplin to work for the company here. What a brave man and woman to cross borders and move to a town where they knew no one. Nina is someone who understands what I am doing this year, in moving beyond my comfort zone!
That is another area that we have in common. We are women who are growing and becoming all that we are meant to be, leaving behind old beliefs and limitations. Nina shares a passion for life and trying new things and offering out of her generous heart. I love her authenticity and bright, beautiful energy. Ram Dass says, “We are all just walking each other home.” I am so thrilled to add Nina to my little group of travelers who, arms linked and hearts connected, are all in the process of doing just that….walking each other home.