When the weather is nice, I enjoy going for a stroll around the parking lot on my lunch break. I know that sounds serene and scenic. It is. Pavement, automobiles, concrete, and shrubs, just picture it. So refreshing. I say who cares what the scenery is like when you are accompanied by a coworker and great conversation? Except when you see a snake. Then it matters. A lot.

I think it is lovely when coworkers become friends.  The more you talk the more you find you can’t possibly fit all the conversation into a single lunch. Somehow there’s a new set of topics to cover even though you just talked about everything possible the day before. It’s fantastic.

One such coworker-turned-friend and I ended up having many conversations over many lunch breaks, which led to conversations specifically about art. It turned out her day job was not reflective of her true passion.

By day she was immersed in software, editing and reviewing a variety of projects that were not her own. By night she would paint in oils in hopes her dream would stay awake. As we would walk and talk, we would talk about these dreams, these paintings, these possibilities. Eventually, I got to see some of her work and was taken back at the talent and the perspective she incorporated into various pieces. It seemed like a waste so few got to see these. To me, her work seemed so fresh and expressive. I wanted it.

At some point, she stopped nudging me to try painting and just flat invited me over. I had nothing I had to bring and no good excuse not to show. There was promise of food. I’ll be there.

That day brought on the unexpected. As I painted, I experienced something very deep that was more than just connecting with it. A part of me unlocked I did not know about. Maybe I did know, but it had been so long, I had forgotten. I did not know that my friend knew this might happen and was prepared. Value the people in your life who know how to walk alongside you when you feel the most vulnerable. It could have been a disaster, and instead, it was freeing.

That was not the last time I painted with her. I promptly invited myself over for another round within the next couple of weeks. I was more than happy to keep exploring and glad for someone to guide me. I brought the food, and she lent the supplies, and the afternoon would just fly by.

It seemed I had found something. And I needed to keep going. But not on my own just yet.