Saturday, April 14, 2007

Friendship is not a matter of time and place

I picked my girlfriend up at the airport last night. We laughed when we saw each other. After 30 years of spending maybe 30 hours together, total, we're planning on spending a weekend. "What if we hate eachother?" I asked after we'd both exclaimed about how funny this situation is. "I wondered the same thing too!" she replied.

It was like time hadn't passed. Other than we don't know each other's stories -- much. We've shared through letter and emails over the years but not the deep down hurting blue stuff. And yet, we picked up as if time was of no consequence. As if a continent between then and now didn't matter. As if 12 to 50+ meant nothing. And it doesn't.

There's that wonderful expression about 'some people come into your life for a moment, some for a lifetime." A good friend, whether in person or just in memory, is there for a lifetime.With Bets, the personality traits, the shared perspectives, the core essence of our beings that made us friends in Grade 7 in France, are the same aspects of our personalities that make us recognize each other as someone we enjoy spending time with now. What an awesome gift to share.

That's what friendship is. It's not time sensitive. It doesn't come with a best before date. It doesn't expire in bad times or run off with your boyfriend in good times. It threads itself through my life, weaving a powerful tapestry of what is most important to me in my life. Integrity, loyalty, kindness, caring and love.

Last night Bets shared a regret she still carries from Grade 7 when she inadvertently hurt another girl in our class. I told her my story of carrying a regret for years, being angry with a girl when I was 16 who stole my boyfriend, only to discover, many years later, that, Sue, the girl I thought had dated my boyfriend after me, never had. The Sue who did date him, insisted she didn't steal him, we had broken up. It wasn't what I remembered. My truth was different than hers. My 'truth' was based on faulty memory. What astounded me in that memory was in my head, I saw the first Sue and my boyfriend walking down a lane holding hands. I'd replayed that picture in my mind countless times and held the wrong Sue accountable for something that I had carefully placed in my memory bed like a stone blocking a rivers flow. It hurt me 30 years before, and in the intervening years I hurt myself with the pain of that memory when the memory wasn't even true.

How often do I do that in my life? Where do I hold onto a hurt refusing to let go? Whether the memory is accurate or not, holding onto the pain today hurts me now even more than it did back then.Letting go is critical to moving lightly and gracefully through life. Bets and I are sharing a weekend filled with laughter, of two women whose lives have grown and expanded and shifted from a school in France. Our lives are different -- the essence of who we are the same.

Our memories of that time fuzzy, faulty and sometimes just downright wrong. But, the people we were then have formed the foundation of the people we are now.

Memories, events, happenings pass.

People stay true to their core.

What an awesome gift.

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