On her birthday today, I celebrate Becca Wells, whose body would have turned 59 this year, had she not finished her course and gone home early in 2012. She was a timeless friend.
Her gifts to me were many and monumental.
In August of 2005, I wrote a letter of recommendation for her, which helped her land a job at Noosa Pengari Steiner School in Denmark, Western Australia.
In December she moved there, for Love. What else motivated Becca?
I was finally able to visit her there in 2012, motivated by a mysterious compulsion that over-rode my own malaise of mind and body. We spent about five weeks together, grateful, but, still taking much for granted. Within three or four months after my return to the States, she was gone. And there are many miraculous stories around that passage alone.
But today, I need only post the letter I wrote all those years ago.
I would scarcely change a word.
We should all have the gift of a friend who earns these words, the privilege to write them, and the Grace that someone might say such things about us.
To the staff and faculty of Noosa Pengari Steiner School, regarding applicant Kira Rebecca Wells:
On her birthday this year, I gave Becca Wells a card quoting Rumi: Our friendship is born of being awake. The verity of this statement is cause for deep and perpetual gratitude for me. I have known Becca for a relatively short yet profoundly rich five years. Hers is one of the most meaningful friendships I will know. She is a rare individual who meets all that life presents with noble wakefulness, thoughtful candor and robust passion. Becca certainly bears out my belief that the best friends are teachers; this not in the formal sense, but in that their flexibility, compassion, generosity and honesty provide the space and trust that fosters true growth. My impression, from the parents of her students, is that this applies comparably in her professional as well as personal life! As individuals and comrades, Becca and I share an unrelenting commitment to integrity and realization of Spirit in the human endeavor. In the way she conducts her life, Becca continues to teach and inspire me. Nearly every interaction, whether with intimates or strangers, demonstrates her sensitivity, clarity, charity and dedication, and, in light of her own journey, a deep faith in the spiritual potential of humanity. I’m not describing a saint. I am describing a friend who is tenderly human and strong of character; one whose soul reaches deep; whose enthusiasm is infectious; whose intelligence is keen and kind; whose capacity to listen, show up, love and celebrate life, and to let Grace minister through her, is uncommon in this time and culture.
I know I will feel her absence poignantly; yet I know her presence has made an indelible impression and will continue to impart its gifts to me. I can only hope my contribution to this friendship approaches equal value to her. I genuinely wish you the blessing of her acquaintance and good service!
August 22, 2005
And as a post script, I also include my only other public writing about Becca. The first three paragraphs of the passage below is excerpted from my contribution to a eulogy read at her wake in Australia. The last paragraph was added for this post. May all be blessed by the essence of this bright and strong Spirit, still serving the world through those who knew her.
We had been friends a few years when Becca gave me such a profound gift of witnessing and validation that it deepened our friendship instantly and eternally. I was going through one of many dark nights of the soul, blind with depression and confusion. I can’t capture the words precisely anymore, but a couple of stunningly candid and astute sentences dissolved my constipated emotion and self-pity into a gushing flow of relief, astonishment and gratitude.
As my sobbing subsided and I lay on the floor, processing a swirl of bewilderment and redemption, she glanced at me over her sewing, and with just a hint of a smile, said casually, “It feels good to be seen, doesn’t it?”
She’d spoken something I’d scarcely even allowed myself to acknowledge about either of us. The content hardly seems revelatory or relevant now, but, at the time, it was huge, not just what she said, but that I had no idea how much she could see. It blew me open. In the years since, we would both mature and go far deeper, as sisters and spiritual peers, but that moment was an initiation for me. And she officiated. Now she is gone, and I carry the torch onward. And I, but a dry leaf on a branch now, live to look up from the grindstone and debris, and offer this witness to you.