Seeing this old thread listed reminded me of last Saturday night (12/9). We had a seminar that day. We were all wonderfully sore and bruised up making, "eech, oooch, ouch, ahhh" sounds when we stood, sat, or walked, and our minds were all tangled up trying to make sense of the gazillion cool things we'd been exposed to that day. And, of course, we had to discuss at length all that cool stuff we'd tried.
A group of us met up at a Mexican restaurant for dinner (we'd done Vietnamese food for lunch).
A lot of you are going to be able to easily conjure up what I'm describing: 3 or 4 restaurant tables pulled together to make one long table; the visiting seminar instructor with some ridiculously high dan rank who can do all that cool I-barely-moved-and-the-big-guy-flew-across-the-mats O-Sensei looking stuff who incidently has a great sense of humor and is really just a big kid (in the good way); my instructor whom I grow fonder of each week; a group of quirky, enthusiastic, kind, open, compassionate, really goofy aikidoka and a couple of their significant others; an ample supply of beer in front of some of the aikidoka; and soooo many stories, sooooo much loud laughter, sooooooo much security and love and trust and joy and humor and warmth and caring and fun....
I sat at that table and felt happier than I can remember feeling for a very long time. I felt privileged. All of the sudden, it felt like my heart was trying to swell beyond my ribcage. I had to blink really hard a few times and look down at my hands to keep from crying. In my mind, I was praying, "Thank you, God. Thank you for these people, this family. Thank you, God, for bringing me this heppiness and love inspite of the divorce. There's so much caring and trust here. This has been a GREAT day. I love these people so much. I truly love them. Thank you, God."