My last communication with her was by email 3 months ago and that was brief. She said she was having trouble hitting the keys and preferred to talk.
She said she would call me. She never did. My calls to her went unanswered.
Still, the news she was in hospice and down to a few days hit me hard and it’s hard to explain why. When I think back, we only saw each other half a dozen times. We talked by phone infrequently – maybe once a year. Yet, from the moment I met her, I felt a connection I could not explain.
The first time we met, she couldn’t understand why I had come to see her, why I wanted to interview her, or what she had to say that would be of interest to the world. Sure, she had a large family and, yes, 19 of her 21 kids where adopted, but so what.
One of her kids, Benjamin, the boy without a brain was something of a medical marvel (See: Lessons from A Boy Without A Brain, posted 7/16/13) but that was of no significance to her. Ben and the others society saw as disadvantaged were her children – nothing more, nothing less. To her mind, her family was not unlike every other family in the neighborhood.
Despite her humility, Rachel was anything but ordinary. She was the equal of any man or woman I have meant and I say this as one who has been privileged to meet some of the most remarkable people of our time.
The first thing I noticed about her when we met was her joy and boundless compassion. The second thing I noticed was that she had a rare ability to speak truth.
I asked her what I thought were simple questions, obvious questions, the same questions I would ask anyone else, and received unexpectedly profound answers, answers that seem to come to her fully formed without thought or effort (See: Forget Yourself, posted 6/23/2012).
So when she called one morning a dozen years or so ago to say she had found the answer, the reason we felt so close, I listened expecting her to say something worth remembering. I wasn’t disappointed.
She said she was reading and meditating that morning when a thought came to her: There is no distance between souls.
“That’s it,” she said.”
And so it is.
Rachel was right. There is no distance between souls. Never has been. Never will be.