With Valentine's Day just around the corner. I thought it might be nice to write about a type of love we have all experienced... Friendship!
Whenever I think of the word friend, I am taken back to my childhood and early elementary school days as a Brownie Girl Scout. We were taught a little song/ saying about friendship and it went like this...
What exactly is a friend?
Well, according to the dictionary, a friend is ; a person who is attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. While searching on-line for the meaning of friendship, I stumbled upon the following saying, and I think it best describes a friend.
As children, our first friends are often those we first bond with... such as our parents and siblings.
My two and a half year old is at a stage where he constantly tells me that I am his best friend... I cherish this time, because I know it will not always be so. :)
Once we head off to school, we make new friends outside of our siblings and immediate family. We become social beings... and this is where our story today begins...
Waiting For Me...
written in 2002
The new girl came from a new city, and from a different Catholic school. She had moved several times during her childhood. I felt compassion for her. Fifth grade was a time of puberty and self-doubt. It must have been so hard for Elizabeth to stand there in front of the entire classroom of strangers, with everyone just staring at her. She wasn't wearing the proper uniform sweater which we were all forced to wear.
I couldn't wait for recess to arrive so I could meet Elizabeth. I was so excited because I loved challenges. The new girl was most interesting and fun! We became very good friends instantaneously, and we did everything together: went to Mass together, walked home from school together, we dreamed together, and wrote silly little notes to each other every day. The only thing we did not do together, was lunch!
I got butterflies in my stomach whenever the word, "lunchtime" was ever mentioned at school. I had a lunchtime phobia. My mother had often times been ill during my childhood; she was Diabetic, and she had many of her illnesses during this time of my life; an emergency Hysterectomy and several Lumpectomies, issues which placed her in the hospital when I was young.
My father built Dams for a living. One time, he was fixing a cable-line at work, so he could observe a Dam. The cable extended horizontally from one end of the Dam to the other end. While riding across the cable-line, the cable cord broke and my father fell forty-six feet onto his head, into the dry Dam! The Dam had just been re-cemented, so it was empty. My father survived a serious concussion and he was in and out of consciousness for days. I vividly remember coming home from school one day, and hearing my mother speaking on the phone with my father's Physician as he updated my mother on my father's condition. This occurred nearly everyday for a week. My heart sank every time my mother asked me to pray for my father's recovery.
Looking back in time, I think I was a bit of a neurotic, nervous child. I was the baby of the family, and I worried about everything. My siblings must have also worried, but they commenced with their daily activities without emotional paralysis. To calm my nervousness, my mother allowed me to come home for lunch each day. My school was only one block away from my home.
I remember hearing hurtful comments about myself. Some nuns would say that my mother, "shouldn't give into that child's nonsense." One of my mother's dear friends approached me, and she told me that I was "selfish" and that I ruined my mother's social life because she was always in a hurry to return home by noon, for me. Even some of my classmates teased me about going home to "your mama" at lunchtime.
Elizabeth never teased me! she would sit on the steps behind the school auditorium waiting for me every day. She never once complained. It was as if she silently understood my worries, she was my kindred, for sure!
I got lunchtime habits down to a science: I would check on my mom, eat my lunch, and skip back to school, all in just twenty minutes! Our school allotted forty-five minutes for lunch, so I had twenty-five left to socialize.
Elizabeth was a very tolerant little girl. Her best attribute was, listening. She listened to me intently.
She still remembers everything I have ever told her. We were always laughing and hoping, scheming, and dreaming together.
Elizabeth didn't tell me much about her home life. She was extremely private about it. I knew she was the oldest of five children, and I was aware that she had many responsibilities. She didn't live near school; she had to walk to and from about two miles each day. She was kind of a mother figure to her siblings. She was very dependable. We were and still are; total opposites of each other, yet, we shared something very special in common, something special that I know was from God, an almost forty year friendship.
So many changes have occurred in both of our lives since those happy school days. We have lost loved ones, college, marriages, babies have been born, and responsibilities have hit hard. There has been so much mileage placed on both of our hearts, and still, Elizabeth stands there waiting for me as if nothing has changed.
Elizabeth's oldest daughter is a grammar school, first grade teacher. Her second daughter will soon be a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Her son is in construction, and can perform contracting challenges beautifully, and her youngest, who is full of talent, is still deciding on a career.
Elizabeth has given her children a thirst for knowledge. She has supported them onto a road of success in their lives. Her own childhood was void of much opportunities, it was challenging and quite different from my own. Her life was not privileged. Nevertheless, she was, and is a survivor. She has made right, so many things that were wrong in her own life. She has chosen another path for her children. Naturally, she would say she has made some mistakes, she is only human. I have never known Liz to take happiness for granted, as I always did. She has chosen to work at making normalcy and continuity a work in progress each day. Her perseverance affects me greatly, and I am proud of her!
I know that when one of us dies, the other one will be waiting at heaven's gates, siting on the golden steps, waiting for the other one. We will commiserate as we always did, and we will breathe a sigh of relief from it all; and I will thank God for the friendship that has lasted for so many years!
Wisdom concerning friendship from the book of Ecclesiastes Chapter 4:verses 9 & 10:
" Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up! But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up."
There is a saying that goes a little something like this...
I sit here today a very blessed woman. God has given me many friends whom I love dearly. If I were to count them all, there is no doubt I would have to use both hands and feet to count. As I am sure is true for many of you.
My husband is not only my mate, he is truly one of my best friends. He knows me better than anyone on this Earth. He is loyal and kind and true. I love him because he makes me want to be a better person, wife and mother. He has honor. I love that he makes me laugh and can always cheer me up! Rich you are my protector and my safety net.
My Son is the one person who's very presence makes me smile and sets my heart to singing. He is my precious gift. I know parents are not suppose to be their child's friend, but this little guy is my best buddy, my helper and my sidekick!
My Mom is my comforter, my cheerleader, my biggest fan and my mentor. My Mom never says no to anyone, she is always there to help almost to a fault. I am so thankful for her endless love, compassion and strength.
My Aunt Becky is my loyal friend. Aunt Becky is a true friend, she is always there no matter what. She is a positive encourager and she always sees the good in others.
Last, but in NO WAY least is my best friend Summer. Summer is like my sister, she makes me laugh and always brings joy to my life. Summer is loyal, kind, self-sacrificing and true! Always there for me no matter what!
So there you have it, I am sure you are all thinking of the friends in your life who lift you up and keep you strong. Thank them this week for their contribution to your life!