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LAce Posted Monday, February 7th, 2005
Cecilia Miller

Waking brought with it some longing because I knew that my best friend, Jeri, and I had fallen out of contact as the years and miles between us had grown. The dream I was having seemed vivid enough to be real. It was of Jeri and me. We were once again living our daily lives in the shelter of our friendship. There were days of sunshine and of rain but over it all hung the deliciousness of the friendship weíd created. In the dream, Jeri was still next door, but I knew this was no longer true.

I had moved half a country away and though Jeri and I talked on the phone when we could afford it and dropped each other child-stained notes as time permitted, it just wasnít the same. Life moved forward for both of us in realms the other no longer knew. For years I strung out the end of the relationship like it was the last string in a rope that suspended me over a canyon. I couldnít seem to help it.

You may be asking, "If this friendship was so wonderful, why is it over?" I donít blame you. As a matter of fact, I asked the same question many times. I asked it of myself, and I asked it of God. The answer, or my understanding of it, has taken years to comprehend. I still sorrow over friendships that have ended, though I understand them in a whole new way now. Itís a way that allows me to cherish what was, regale people with those stories, and count the blessings that so readily come with friendship. In my early adulthood I didnít understand that some friends exist for a certain time, or a specific reason, and that not all will last through the four seasons of our lives.

Jeri and I met in our late 20ís through our common life-threads of age, religious affiliation, marital status and motherhood. Our bond was instant. It didnít take us years of getting to know each other, slowly learning each others history, preferences, and opinions. We met, and it was as if weíd known each other forever. Though our lives had been different in many ways, we both came with a yearning for friendship and openness to new situations. We accepted each others truths and in that very moment we were given one of the greatest gifts a person can experience, true friendship knows no boundaries and harbors no ills. I knew then they were good times. In retrospect, they were great times.

Jeri and I met when I moved into a neighborhood sheíd long been a member of. Some people with a strong foothold in a community and solid friendships already made, no longer are open to new friends, but this was not the case with her. We had nine children between us. In the background of all we did was the echo of our children playing, like a soft melody. Perhaps it was the freshness and innocence of children we inhaled each day that allowed us to be so open to each other. I donít know how else to explain it. We instantly became steadfast friends. In one breath we supported each other through night classes at college and in the next breath she taught me to expand my horizons in the kitchen.

The key was at each dayís end, regardless of what had happened, we still had faith in each other and shared our dayís happenings. We believed every day would be fresh and filled with hope anew and, no matter what, we could face it together. But a mere four years into our friendship I moved away. I had to. Lifeís dictates arenít always fair. She understood it was what was best for me and for my children, so she supported me all the way and struggled to not let me see her tears. I cried those same tears.

As I settled into my new community I hoped Iíd meet a new best friend, but it wasnít the same. I found I just didnít click with these new neighbors like I had with Jeri. Still, hope stays alive in me because I bear the knowledge it happened once and I have faith it could happen again. I take great comfort in knowing I had such a dear friend. She was an advocate for me and my strongest champion. She believed I could do things Iíd not yet imagined, and then stood beside me as I climbed each of those mountains. She shared in my glory as fully as she shared in my pain. She was a Godsend for this particular time of my life and I will remain forever grateful. I know to wallow in self-pity over what was, does an injustice to our friendship.

On days like today, when I recall our friendship so clearly, I whisper a prayer of thanksgiving I knew her and counted her among my dearest friends. I remind myself to remain open to others so one day, Iíll again know the bonds of a friendship that will fill a moment in time with memories I can hold onto for a lifetime, whether the friendship is for a time, a reason, or a season.

Comments [post a comment]

Posted by Sharon Hurlbut on Tuesday, February 8th, 2005 at 7:18 PM
A beautiful portrait, Cecilia. You've given me an insight into the nature of friendship with this lovely piece.

Posted by Barbara Miller on Friday, February 11th, 2005 at 2:05 PM
A wonderful touching account of friendships we can all relate too. Thank you for helping me to understand better my feelings of long ago friends.

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