I believe that our friends are our family by choice. And life is a vibrant cosmos of choices. Sometimes, we are not chosen. But always, may we choose those who choose us. Chosen well, our relationships are intangible dwelling spaces where we are welcomed and loved, fueled to flourish and fulfill our purpose, the very thing that makes life worth living. Let us pour from an unempty cup and receive graciously from others who pour generously, with whole hearts, from theirs.

This photo is from a lunch with old friends and new from the first Saturday of January. One friend could not make it, so our table for four had space for another. The staff asked if we might, and we chose to share our table with another diner, K. That lunch was a delight far more than I could have imagined. K chose to share about his life in Florence and as we all pitched in with our own stories, the conversation became a wellspring of inspiration and hope, a reminder that, though coming from different backgrounds, we all chose Florence to be the setting of our life’s meaningful pursuits. Strangers became friends because we all chose to share what we could. It was unplanned. Unscripted. Seemingly random. Yet I think to that lunch as an especially vibrant spot in the cosmos of choices we made that day.

If you are wondering about the food, the restaurant was packed and unsurprisingly so, because as Cameron said, “I can taste the love in this pasta!”

And who wouldn’t be up for love on a plate at a table with friends?

Thank you for the love, Dalla Lola! (Via della Chiesa 16r, 50125 Firenze)