Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Personal torah: friends

Here's my personal torah for the week.

Isn't friendship odd?

There are those with whom you feel an instant connection. Whether you're 4 years old and it's another little child at the park who just happens to be near you on the swing set or you're a new mom trying desperately to figure things out and you find a mom on a message board with whom you click instantly. Maybe it's a person who, upon first meeting them, you stay up all night discussing nothing and everything all at once. Sometimes, you may notice them instantly, but maybe it takes some time (or a seemingly random event) before he/she recognizes him/herself in you.

There are also those that you may not like initially. Your mother will never forget how, when you were a freshman in high school, you ranted about that girl who played all those sports and was the first ever freshman editor of the school paper and then you wound up best friends with her the next year. There's the guy you hated working with or sitting beside in your Bio lecture who wound up being one of the greatest friends you ever had.

Sometimes, people enter (or re-enter) our lives seemingly by chance. I don't believe in coincidences for the most part. I believe they're miracles we just haven't recognized. Maybe it was through a string of bizarre events that you found an old friend. It wasn't until an acquaintance graduated high school that I realized she had been my best friend in pre-school, several schools and towns ago. Only after dh and I started dating did we realize that my friends and I had struck up a conversation with him months earlier. While we both remembered the conversation, neither one of us realized it had been the other.

One of my best friends in high school was someone I met at a summer program. She helped keep me sane and helped keep me alive. She was exactly what I needed at a rough time in my life. When the pamphlet came for that summer program, I threw it away. It was too expensive and it was a topic that didn't really interest me. My mother found it in the garbage and took it out (VERY uncharacteristic for my neat-freak mother). She insisted I go. Sitting in the huge conference room the first night of the program, I noticed this blond girl in my group instantly, but I didn't think I liked her and she didn't seem to even see me. A few days later, the girls in the room next to me made far too much noise while my roommates and I were getting ready for bed. I banged on their wall. This started a game between us where we banged back and forth. I gave up feeling annoyed and just had a good time. The next day, I laughed with a friend about the banging incident and from a table near us, the blond girl leaned over and yelled, "That was YOU?" By the time the week was over, we were good friends. In the months that followed, we sent at least one letter daily and became the best of friends. Eventually, she slipped away, but we're still in touch. I know that if need be, she'll wander back into my life.

And in today's world, we have friendships via e-mail, blogs and networking sites. Some of these are friends you may have known in the real world ages ago, but distance has taken them away. Thanks to the wonder of e-mail, you can keep in touch. Many of these are people you have never met. Yet when you need to vent or share a funny story, they'll listen (read, actually). You also find yourself wrapped up in the lives of people you have never met. I can't tell you how many people I've prayed for or worried about and sent gifts for who I knew only through message boards. While I don't frequent message boards anymore, blogs have filled in that void. The internet is a harsh mistress because it tends to breed drama more so than anywhere else, but that can be dealt with among true friends (and can help weed out those who don't fit that title).

The nature of friendship is so odd. I can't fully analyze it, but I can be thankful for it in all its forms (except the aforementioned drama. I could do without that).

"And when somebody knows you well
Well, there’s no comfort like that
And when somebody needs you
Well, there’s no drug like that" Heather Nova (London Rain)


Phyllis Sommer said...

wow, great post. it's true, people do drift in and out at just the right times... my husband is going through this right now, he is reconnecting with all the people he went to camp with 25 years ago and it's so powerful to watch him "re-meet" all these people... and, ha ha, they're doing it all on facebook!

Anonymous said...

I love this post! "...miracles we just haven't recognized.." (I like that.) Check out my post, "The Priceless Gift" I think you'll enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment, I hope you'll be back.