Back in Meridian Junior High School, Kara Spencer said it out loud:
Then she laughed and tossed her black hair from her face before she wrapped her arm in mine and steered us toward the lunchroom. I walked with her, silent, as the reality set in: other people noticed. Even, Kara, my closest friend knew I was awkward and uncomfortable in the presence of real voices and real faces. The funny, interesting, interested girl that lived loud in my head floundered and fell silent whenever anyone expected her to come out and play.
That girl lived best through words on a page, on a screen. With no one watching, I could unlock the door and let that true girl free.
Sometimes we need the safety of distance in order to try out our voices and find out who we are.
My parents, an Idaho country girl and a Vietnam-era sailor stationed in Africa, grew a lifetime love through a handful of meetings and countless letters back and forth across the sea. When I was young I remember looking at those stacks of letters, tied in bundles and tucked into an old box, trying to imagine what words could possibly have spun such an unlikely miracle and my own existence. Mom never let me open even one. "Those are only for your dad and me, " she would say and gently close the lid on the handwritten threads of their emerging love. I've never read the letters but I live within their tapestry every day.
Nearly six years ago I found the freedom-letters of another quiet girl and tapped out a shy hello. Eventually, as the words piled up, I whispered to her in a comment box, "I think you are my soul-sister." And she is.
Our friendship, born in a time when internet relationships were still misunderstood, has been woven across acres of words and hundreds of miles and thousands of days. Words finding home in each other's hearts, unlocking doors, giving permission to voice the things known and never spoken aloud.
Perhaps someone reading here has a voice behind the quiet and a pile of words that have never been said.
Perhaps you bravely send your heart back and forth across the world on paper - or on a screen - hoping a soulmate waits to pick up the threads on the other side.
Write long and write deep.
Receive the words of others with grace and really listen to their voice.
You never know what kind of miracle you may be weaving.