My best friend for the last 30 years is a man named Steve.

Steve and I worked together as street social workers in the trenches of New York's foster care system in the 1970's. We played semi-professional softball together in the 1980's. We pursued our past lives and endured group therapy together in the 1990's. We attended acting class together in the 2000's.

I am a white man, an Italian-American, who grew up in the suburbs. Steve is a black man, an African-American, who grew up in Harlem. While Steve and I were always humorously aware of our racial differences, it never occurred to either of us over these three decades that our ethnicities represented a barrier between us. Quite the contrary. Whether we sat together in case conferences with child welfare bureaucrats, or in team meetings with grizzled jocks, or in channeling sessions with mediums contacting disembodied spirits, Steve and I were kindred spirits, comrades in arms, best friends. We laughed through it all.

Tonight, after the inauguration of Barack Obama, Steve and I laughed and cried together. We somehow knew this day would one day come, but yet we never knew if it would ever really come. We expressed our love for each other and for humanity. We expressed our hope for America, a hope that we always had, but yet couldn't wait for in evolving our friendship.

Today, my friendship with Steve seems like a footnote to the great shift in consciousness that has occurred. But perhaps it is in such friendships that all shifts in consciousness occur.

I love you, Steve.

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