Old Friends

This was a special week for me. A childhood friend of mine came to spend the day with me Wednesday. We stay in touch on Facebook, but we hadn't seen each other in years. And when I say that we go way back, I mean that we were babies together ... teenagers together... newly marrieds together, etc. (And now we've shared hot flashes together, which seems so very appropriate!)

We share common roots, experiences, memories and relationships. Our parents were good friends when we were young (and all through our lives). My first cousins are also her first cousins. So it almost seems as if we should be related. I do not have a sister by blood, but Kathy is someone I consider a sister of my heart.

That is not to say we haven't gone through some difficult places in our friendship. We have. But there has always been genuine love, acceptance and forgiveness of wrongs. I am very grateful for that.

Wednesday was a day filled with love and laughter and the joy of a lasting friendship. I could hardly stand to see her and her daughters leave because I knew it might be years again before I got to spend another day like that with her. I can honestly say that there is nobody like Kathy to me. I realized just how deep the bond is between us. I'm so thankful our friendship has survived and endured.

Because of leaving the group I was raised in and probably even more as a result of my outspokenness on the subject, I have lost a lot of friends I used to believe were lifelong friends. So the ones I still have are even more precious to me. Some are openly my friends. Some let me know privately that they are still my friends (and I understand why they don't feel comfortable to be my friend openly). And oddly enough, some of my closest past friends feel so negatively toward me today that they have me blocked on Facebook. Apparently, they don't want to even see a comment I make or have me see theirs. I try not to let that bother me. But I would be lying if I said it doesn't. I can accept their feelings (I have to). But if you had ever told me that their dislike for me would one day become that intense, I would not have been able to believe it.

God has multiplied friendship into my life exponentially and I have more close friends today than I ever dreamed of having. So I can't complain or feel sorry for myself. I realize there are friends for specific seasons of our lives whom, for one reason or another, we have to let go of in order to move forward with our lives. But I wish every friend could be the kind you get to hold for a lifetime. I really do. And I deeply cherish those that are.

I have made many of those deep and lasting friendships in the last few years. I feel like I know the people who will be there for me in the future. In August I will have been in Murfreesboro for eight years. And it feels good to have a shared history here with John. When we were first together, I remember looking forward to the time when we would say to each other, "Remember when...?"  And we do that all the time these days. Those words are usually accompanied by, "Gosh, that seems like a long time ago." I really love that. It feels as if we've always been together and the past is someone else's life. Except for days like Wednesday.

When I was with Kathy Wednesday, it was as if time had stood still -- except for the fact that I am so much happier than I ever was in past years. It was as if the good times of the past merged with the good times of today in our reunion.

I am a very social person, but I can also be a little hermit crab in that I love to stay home by myself and could spend endless days content to do nothing but read and write and be on the computer. So although I always enjoy company, I never feel a void when anyone leaves. But I did Wednesday when Kathy left. I started missing her as she was driving away. I had such a longing to live close to her again. And not just because she has the ability to make me laugh nonstop and feel like I'm twenty again (although she does). It's because we are as much alike in some ways as we are distinctive in others. And I always feel so loved, valued and accepted by her. Being in agreement on everything doesn't even factor into the equation. We accept each other exactly as we are. And I think we are even able to appreciate some of our differences and differing perspectives -- even when it comes to the past.

I have tears in my eyes (okay, on my cheeks too) as I write this. I would blame it on being menopausal, but the truth is that I just feel things so deeply and always have in every stage of my life. I really hope Kathy knows how much she means to me and how much I value our lifelong friendship. I always will.

After she left, I told John that I felt sad. Yesterday morning the house seemed too quiet. (I never feel that way!) The truth is, her presence so filled my house and heart Wednesday that she left a void. And although I had been so very excited about her visit, I never anticipated the let down I would feel when she had to go. But although I'm going to miss her intensely for a while (till I see her again), it's a comfort to know that our bond is still so strong. I know in my heart that ours is a friendship that will never fall by the wayside. There is no difference of opinion that could ever separate us. And she has long ago proven that there is no offense that could ever make her stop loving me.

For that I will always be grateful, Kathy. I love you very much.
(And I was so happy for you to meet John ~ and for John to meet you!)

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