Dana Martin Writing

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A [mostly amusing] blog about travel, life, and TSA pat-downs
Dana Martin Writing

“I” is for Intimacy

Grateful April in the A-Z Blogging Challenge
I discovered this morning that it’s only 1/3 of the way through the A-Z Blogging Challenge, and I’ve already shirked about every real adult responsibility in my life. “Dana, did you take care of that insurance thing?” No, but I sure got my blog posted. “Hi… were you able to call the bank and get the new address to mail our house payment?” Seriously? Get off my back, I was b-l-o-g-g-i-n-g.
Ahhh… the charming enthusiasm of a new blogger. Anyway, please forgive the lateness of this blog post; I’ll try to get my act together and be quicker with the drudgery of real life so I can resume the early morning posts. 
Many of you probably looked at the topic of this blog and got excited. Oooo… intimacy! Dana’s going to be blogging about sex. While I’m sure the actual topic of this blog will disappoint you, I’d like to make a case for the other kind of intimacy for which I am grateful in my life.
Intimacy is different from an intimate relationship. As I was thinking about possible “I” words that would fall under my theme of gratitude, I chose intimacy because it’s more than friendship but can also describe even a brief encounter that leaves you feeling uplifted. Avoiding intimacy would be like refusing to drive a car for fear of a wreck, or unwillingness to smell a rose because of the thorns. The point is that yes, intimacy exposes your heart to the pain of others–but it also invites you to their triumphs and blessings.
I am grateful that I know stuff about my friends. When “B” went in for surgery, her husband had me on standby. When “M’s” surgery went badly, I was the first person his mom called. When “R” went through marital turmoil, when “H” got a book deal, when “S’s” mom passed away, when “T” needed prayer–they thought of me. How. Lucky. Am. I?
I get close to people. I’ve been told I should not be this way because I take on the pain or burdens of my loved ones. Wouldn’t it be so much easier to stay aloof and avoid negativity? I think not. As Garth Brooks sang, “I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.”
And the dance, my friends, is what makes life worth living.
Intimacy. For some reason, I invite it, and I am not complaining. One year ago, I was sitting in a Starbucks in a small city called Pismo Beach, where my daughters and I had gone for Spring Break. They went to get some sun and left me alone to work. Laptop open and ready to write, I couldn’t help but notice the blaring Spanish music coming from the laptop two tables down. The woman sitting with it was busily writing in a journal. At first, I was disgruntled because how dare she invade my silence in a noisy public place? 
The song played on infinite repeat–I knew this because it played so many times I nearly spoke fluent Spanish by the time I’d finished my venti mocha. As it turned out, however, I actually began to enjoy it; I didn’t understand the lyrics and was able to concentrate on what I was writing because it created a soothing background noise. 
Shortly before I started singing aloud, the woman asked if I would watch her things while she went to the restroom. Of course. When she returned is when I was faced with stranger intimacy–which has become my favorite right after friend intimacy. Here’s how it went:
“Is my music bothering you?” she asked with real concern in her eyes.
“Me? No, of course not!” I smiled, deciding not to tell her that I’d initially wanted to report her for disturbance of the peace.
“Good. It’s a love song,” she began in the broken English of a person who truly wants to learn our language but can’t quite cut the ties to her homeland. “But I’m sad about losing my best friend. To me, this is about her, and I’m writing a letter to her to apologize.”
My eyes widened; I felt a story coming.
“Do you have a second?” she asked. “I’d like to tell you about it.”
I’m not sure if anyone else gets this sensation, but I suddenly felt like I was exactly where I needed to be in that moment. She stood in front of me in that Starbucks and told me the circumstances surrounding her “breakup” with her best friend, and I listened. I happened to have a scriptural message on a Post-It note stuck to my laptop, and when she finished, I handed it to her.
“Maybe you need this,” I said. “You seem like you’re trying to row your own boat. Do you believe in God?” I asked. She said she did, so I told her to trust Him and allow Him to help her with this problem. She read the Post-It note I handed her and she began to cry. We talked for a while longer, then she returned to her notebook and laptop and continued what she was doing. 
A while later, my girls came to get me, and as I was packing up, the woman walked over and handed me a piece of paper with a handwritten note scribbled in her charming broken English. “I don’t write very good,” she said, “but I hope you can read this.” I reached for her and we hugged. Two strangers, likely never to see one another again, but I wanted her to know everything was going to be OK.
When I got to the car, I read her note, which was adorably written in the same broken accent as her speaking voice:

Thank you a lot for this few minutes you have spend with me allowing me to share with you this what matter inside of me, and thank you for uplifting my heart. Thank you so much: You are right I’ll allow God to be driver in this. Best, Marta
That is intimacy. This is an example of the poignancy and emotion that comes from making yourself available to others. To feel as if you’re in the right place and that another human has benefited from your existence, whether she is a stranger, family member, new or old friend–you have made a difference. 

It’s a darn good feeling.


  • Judy

    This was a beautiful post – absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing story. This is what it's all about.

  • Jer

    What an amazing encounter. Human contact is an wonderful thing, and I wonder how many opportunities for it each of us has missed. Sometimes a stranger is the easiest person to speak intimately with – ask any closing-time bartender. Oh, yeah, and there are no accidents. Your writing is so seamless and natural, it's comfortable, like Mr. Rogers sweater.

  • Kym Showers

    my favorite post so far. (wait. I've said that before:). but. really.
    you inspire me. thank you, my new friend. MUCH love to you from me.

  • Robin

    This is one of those moments when you know that you were right where you were supposed to be. It's an excellent reminder that we all have opportunities to help others. How many do we miss?

  • Craig Edwards

    That's a very sweet story – I'm glad you were in that right place at that right time to give Marta an ear and a shoulder. Cheers.

  • Kathy Wiechman

    And your post made a difference to me today. What an inspiration you are!

  • Annis Cassells

    Beautifully written post and a heartwarming story, Dana. Yes. I get that sensation you mentioned, and it's a wonderful feeling. I'm grateful for YOU in my life and on my computer. xoA

  • Mark Means

    What an awesome post! Keep posting things like this and don't worry about the length…it's worth it 🙂

    Left and Write

  • Frances Stiles

    Dana,this is touching and beautiful. I think that certain people invite this type of intimacy from others (family, friend, strangers) just by the personality that they project. I try to be this type of person, but I don't know that I project it as well as you. You spread joy just by your presence.

  • Kimberly Gabriel

    Dana – this is beautiful. I'm teary eyed at the end of this. What a lovely, intimate moment between strangers. Yes – Every now and again I also get that feeling that I'm supposed to be in a certain place at a certain time for a certain reason – this clearly was one of those moments for you.

    Also glad to see I'm not the only one struggling to keep up with the challenge. 😉

  • Kim Van Sickler

    I'm bleary-eyed. You obviously made a difference to that woman on that day and it sounds like she's not the only one. Thanks for sharing.

  • TheWineTwins

    I can't love this post enough!!! I too, suffer from people at work trying to get me to do stuff while I am clearly blogging! *sigh*
    I tried threatening them with "Would you like me to come talk to you instead?" but that only works the first few times.
    You've captured it perfectly! That amazing feeling you get when you can make a difference in someone else's day just by being there and showing basic kindness.
    – With love from the A to Z Challenge- Heather the Evil Twin @ thewinetwins.blogspot.com

  • Beverly

    Very sweet, Dana. You're obviously a lovely person (which is why you definitely don't belong in the Roger Corman world, but I'm glad you visit from time to time!)

    Beverly Gray

  • mare ball

    What a touching event. You must exude a calm and warmth to have a stranger open her life to you so easily. What a beautiful letter. I would have kept it too. As a reminder that we are all dealing w/ SOMEthing all the time. So kind of you to give this woman some time. Time is exactly what true intimacy is about. Sweet post. 🙂

  • Dana Martin

    I LOVE THESE COMMENTS!! You guys are all so sweet, and I love that you all get me. 🙂 Thank you sooooo so much for stopping by and leaving me notes. I love your writing, too, and can't wait to read your next posts. 🙂

  • Dennis


    What a touching story. Thank you for sharing it.


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