You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Friends’ tag.

macro shot photography of white flowers
picture of white flowers with dark green stems

The topic of our low vision support group one day last year was crafts people who are blind or visually-impaired can do. I was talking about round-loom knitting and showing the group some of the hats, mini-blankets and scarves I had made. 

After the meeting, a woman named Joyce approached me and pointed at my scarf. “It’s lovely!” she said. “Did you make that?” 

“Sure did!” I said. “Do you think I could learn how to knit like that?” she asked. “You sure can!” I told her. That was the first of many times she called me “remarkable.”

When you first meet someone, you may ask, “What job do you do?” But more telling is this one: “What job do you do on others?”

Joyce passed away recently and, boy, she did a job on me, okay. Made me feel like a genius. As if I’d invented knitting on a round-loom.

She made me feel like an angel. As if telling her she could still be crafty and creative, even with her visual impairment, was like manna from heaven.

More important than the question of, “What did you do for a living” is this one: “How did you make a life?”

Did you soldier on despite setbacks and health issues? Huzzah, indeed. Did you keep a positive attitude, even though you were facing some serious problems? Bully for you! 

These are the minute miracles that people accomplish and never give themselves credit for. Being a “yes” in a world filled with “no” is a feather in your cap.

No one knows what another human being is going through on any given day. The most we can hope for is that we show up for each other when our paths cross, and that we lighten the load for a fellow traveler when we can.

At the end of her life, Joyce was still encouraging everyone around her. We only saw each other at low vision support group meetings, and kept in touch by email and on the phone only occasionally. Still, she made an impact on my life. She was a lesson in fortitude. In graciousness. In loving-kindness.

Dear friend, you will not be forgotten.

silhouette of three people up on mountain cliffI loved Lori’s post about our confab the other day. It was so nice to see my sisters-of-the-soul, almost in person. Her characterization of me as a ballerina impersonating a longshoreman sent me into spasms of snorts (laughter, that is). I’ve been trying to come up with a word to combine those two terms. Balleshorman? Longshorina? Either way, it’s me all over! As we say in Jersey, not for nothin, but she’s on the money.

We’ve never met in person, so this call was truly an event. I could see SueBE as a professor in a college setting, as she just has a way about her that says, “Trust me. I know my stuff.” She’s warm and wise, and feels like family.

I could see Lori as a poet-in-residence at an idyllic lakeside writers’ retreat. She’s got a way about her that says, “I feel things deeply, and can put emotions to music till words dance on the page.” She’s refined and regal, and feels like family.

During the call, workmen were bumping around in my basement, tearing down walls and cleaning out the mess caused by a broken sewer pipe. I was concerned because they had asked me which walls to cut down, even though I had previously told their associate all of the details. What if they cut out the wrong wall? Threw away boxes of mementos inadvertently?

Then as we started chatting, my cat, Squeaky, climbed up onto the desk, and right into the camera shot. I loved that Lori and SueBE would get to meet him; however, I hadn’t taken my Benadryl to help with my cat allergy that morning. Before long, my face flushed and I felt the itching start. I didn’t want to pause the call, because it was such a momentous occasion, so I soldiered on through the allergic reaction.

It was so good to be together from afar, and even though I wasn’t fully myself, I felt like we were all present enough to create the foundation of our sacred space. A shared, virtual meeting room in which we talk about joy, grief, hope, the pandemic, politics, prayer. The stuff of life. I know that when any one of us isn’t able to be wholly present, the others will step up so we can shore each other up.

Dear readers, finding your sisters- (or brothers) of-the-soul is highly recommended for your mental health, for spiritual sustenance, and a whole heck of a lot of fun. It doesn’t matter where you go in the world with friends on the same frequency. You know they’ve got your back, and you’ve got theirs, whatever may come.

My friend Maria, who hails from Taiwan, tells me that in her culture it is believed that friends are souls who find one another, lifetime after lifetime. Though I’m not a fan of reincarnation (it sounds terribly tiring), I like the sound of this conjecture. After Ruth opined that she thought the three of us really ought to get tattoos so that we can find one another in the next life, it all clicked together.

The sky appears daunting, swarming
as it is with bright and twinkling things,
still: We will find each other,
unerringly, though lifetimes,
on this or any astral plane.
We will coalesce into constellation—
The Sisters, they will call us, or something Latinate —
we will laugh, knowing we are we, not stars but souls,
bound by something more grave than gravity,
beats of light that blink out occasionally,
only to reappear, newborn but ancient,
in yet another freckled sky.

Kids can be really, really good at this.  This past weekend, our church hosted a breakfast with Santa for our preschool crew.  One hundred and seventy-five people attended.  It was a little nuts, but in a good way.

As always, I sat in one corner with our pastor and painted faces.  I painted snowflakes.  I painted gingerbread men.  I painted one star and one package.  And I painted at least a dozen reindeer.

I had to smile at two little girls who came up to me wanting reindeer.  They both had on the same dress, red and velvety with white trim.  Super cute!  According to one girls older brother (or maybe cousin, I don’t ask), they dress alike so that everyone can tell they are together.  “Twins,” whispered one little voice.  Big brother didn’t say fiddle but he was waiting for me to object.

One little girl was blonde and curly with big blue eyes.  The other girl, his sister, had straight black hair and big brown eyes.  Superficially, they couldn’t have been more different.  But that’s not what they were looking at.  In their hearts, where it truly mattered, these little girls were clearly twins with one big brother to keep an eye on them.

Kids have a lot to teach us if we will listen.  I’m glad God set this reminder on my path.

–SueBE

Most days, my morning starts with CBS This Morning. Last week, newscaster Gayle King interviewed actor Matthew Perry and put his whole life into a neat, yet negative, nutshell:

  • You had been on a hit show, Friends.
  • You’ve done other shows since and they have not been successful.
  • You had a serious drug addiction and struggled with fame.
  • You’re starring in a remake of the Odd Couple, which will be tough to make a hit, since the original show was iconic.
  • You’ve dated famous women through the years; those relationships didn’t work out. Who are you dating currently?

So she “bullet-pointed” his life, as if this is the sum total of who he is.

For a moment, his face registered real emotion – it seemed to be a combination of surprise, since his show will be on this same network, and hurt, since, like, he’s a human being. Recovering quickly, he went back into his regular actor-guy persona and dutifully recited talking points about his new show.

So often, we “bullet-point” our own lives, thinking the boxes containing our troubles really have anything to do with who we actually are.

Do we think of ourselves in this way:

  • Sick
  • Sad
  • Strapped
  • Struggling

Or in this way, which is the truth:

  • Cherished
  • Chosen
  • Child of God
  • Champion

God didn’t go through all this trouble – knitting you together in your mother’s womb, making you this quirky bundle of wonderful – so you could drag yourself through the day, barely holding on in life. Don’t think of your short-comings. Think of your long-goings, to coin a term. Think of the long game. Focus on what you want out of your life instead the pile of things distracting you.

So, next time somebody aims that bullet-point in your direction, set them straight. You can’t be put into a box or pegged by parentheses. You’re not an afterthought or an addendum. You’re an original, one-of-a-kind with fingerprints and forensics tracing your lineage to a Higher Authority.

Bullet-point that, world!

Archive

Have a Mary Little Christmas

%d bloggers like this: