Have you ever found yourself pondering your life and how the people you have encountered along the way came to be walking the same path as you at the same time?
Through the years I have done this type of assessment a lot. How was it that I was born at the time and place I arrived? Why was I born into my particular family? Why was I born into an area of the world so different from the places where millions of others presented themselves? I always pondered these questions as I learned about the world around me, knowing that somewhere on the other side of the world there were people born into abject poverty or into a place where fear was rampant due to the criminal element that surrounded them. The same is true when I pondered those born into royal bloodlines and extreme wealth. How did this all come to be our reality? As for me, I think I was very lucky. Like the story of Goldilocks, where this porridge was too hot, this porridge was too cold, and this porridge was just right, my life was “just right” with no excess of anything. No excess wealth and no excess poverty. It was always filled with the right amount of many factors that contributed to my well being. Some people think life is a random event while others think it is pre-determined.. I am open to whatever our creator decided for it to be.
I was thinking of this on my way home from the airport this morning after dropping off one of my dearest friends. She arrived a week ago today and we pretty much talked nonstop the entire time. As I sped along the highway, I was counting my blessings for the merging of our two individual paths in life so long ago at another time and place. How is it that we clash with some people in this world and instantly bond with others? It is a mystery.
If there are four seasons in life I suppose I would now have to say that I have entered the winter of my life where there is a shortening of the days and a slowing down of energy…a period of rest and contemplation. I am most decidedly blessed to have been granted the experience of this part of life where similar to the ending of a song, it becomes quieter, slower and drawn out until its completion…
I met my friend when I was in my late 20’s. My husband and I and our family had recently moved to a small northern Minnesota town due to my husbands job promotion. We had three small children and the day I met my friend, the children were playing quietly downstairs as I was wallpapering a wall in our house. To my surprise, the doorbell rang, so I put down my project and opened the door. There she stood…She was tall and thin with dark, shoulder length hair and a broad smile. The minute our eyes met, we both felt a strong connection. She was collecting for the Heart Association and she made a point of showing me proof of the legitimacy of her donation request. I laughed out loud at her concern that I may think she was a fraud looking for money.
As is often said, She and I “hit it off”, and as a result, many phone calls, lunches, and outings occurred while we slowly built our relationship. We were fortunate that our husbands really liked each other as well, so there were many times, as couples, we found interesting things to do which allowed for the guys to come to know each other better as well.
We had only lived in that little town for around two years when another promotion pulled us far away to another state. Despite the distance now between us, she and I remained in touch by letter, phone call, and an occasional planned visit.
Through the years we have shared our life stories with each other, a little bit at a time, as time allowed. Bit by bit, we became ever closer as we began to see how synchronized we were in our morals, thoughts, religious beliefs, parenting, etc. etc. etc. Like a small seed planted in fertile soil, our relationship grew and expanded and began to bear fruit. The fruit consisted of the many ways we helped shape each others thoughts and how we helped each other expand our awareness of the complexity of life, family and friends. The fruit was also the absolute acceptance of each other exactly as we are. There was no competitiveness, no envy, no negativity at all. There was only positive energy flowing and no expectations of changing the other.
My personality traits are those of a social introvert. I can spend vast amounts of time by myself but I DO love the company of others where we can talk and laugh and share thoughts and feelings. I just don’t need this type of socialization on a daily basis. I connect this aspect of my personality to the environment in which I grew up. We lived in “the woods” of the U.P. of Michigan at a time where a child’s entertainment was not provided to them. A child had to figure that part out on their own, so in my case, it consisted of a lot of solitary activities. I also had cousins, cousins, by the dozens anytime I wanted a playmate, but for the most part, I spent a lot of my time in the imaginary world of books. Sometimes I would take a book up into the middle of the woods nearby and lay down on my back on the soft moss covered earth. I would then prop my book up on my chest, and proceed to get lost in the next adventure. Oh how I traveled far and wide in those days, one adventure followed by another in the far outposts of my mind. I would occasionally lift my eyes from the book to observe the long shafts of sunlight streaming down through the tall stand of trees as I pondered recently read passages.
As a result of my childhood, I have never needed a huge circle of friends. Rather, I was selective about who I spent time with, which inevitably led to my friendships becoming more than just surface laughter. I have always said, “Give me one good hearted “salt of the earth” friend with a great sense of humor and I am good to go!” No gaggle of girlfriends for me!
I think that we somehow manifest our desires by how we imagine things because the universe has presented to me one good friend after another. Not a LOT of them, but boy oh boy, the quality of these people has always been spot on for me to love and enjoy.
This is true with my husband as well. No truer love has ever existed for me than that which I have for him and he has for me. Oh, yes, blessings abound! When I was young, I always imagined what my husband would be like some day and now here we are, nearly 1/2 century married, true friends on so many levels!
I am sitting here now in the quiet of my house, imagining my friend sitting in an airplane, lifting off in the Texas sky, flying back to the north country. I feel satiated and loved after a wonderful week of shopping, lunches, sharing thoughts and feelings and the reminiscing of stories from long ago. At the same time, I feel a slight bit melancholy because I realize how far we have come and how much shorter the path is that lies ahead of us. Death is real to us these days as she is now a widow of three years. Instead of two couples engaging with each other, we are now a threesome and we are ever mindful of the fragility of life. As she is strongly encouraging us to come and stay a month with her next summer, using her home as a place where we can come and go, we nod our heads smiling, saying “Yes, yes” knowing that this will only come to pass, if God is willing for it to be so!
My life has been full of many kinds of relationships…some good, some bad, some best left forgotten. This friendship falls into the good….the very, very good category. I guess one would call her a gift to me. A gift from God to make up for some of the losses I have endured. In the checks and balances of life, she is one of those rare bonuses!
As they say, be careful what you focus on because that is what you will bring into your life. Fortunately, I am one who usually focuses on what is good and right. I see life’s gifts, and she is certainly one of them. Bye, bye Nancy, I will be savoring and focusing on this visit for a long time to come. God bless!