Monday, March 3, 2014

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER ...


Art of Beth Carver used with permission   www.bethcarverart.com

I love these paintings by Beth Carver. They make me want to join them for the afternoon. They are surely, the best of friends. I imagine they've thrown caution to the wind, not giving the fat nor the calories in that ice cream a second thought. What's the saying... "Life's short, eat dessert first."

I grew up in a house with six brothers. My first experience with a real girlfriend was my oldest sister in law. I was only five and she was 20 when she married my brother but I vividly remember that she adored me. She would talk about "girly" things with me and once when I was about seven she gave me a little bracelet with eight tiny lipsticks attached.  They were real... real lipstick. I was beyond mesmerized.

Over the past 60 years she has always been a
soft place to land. What a wonderful woman.
Why does it take some of us so long to figure
it out?
Jeanne and one of her granddaughters                                                                                                                         
        My daughters and daughter in laws

The year I got divorced I made an amazing friend.  She was also going through a divorce and we had an immediate connection.  When a divorce happens it quickly becomes obvious that friends and family get worn out. They just want you to be happy again! I was lucky to have this friend. We talked for hours, for months, for years. We cried, we agonized, we went over and over the details. We got each other through the worst of it. And through all of that we laughed and laughed and went to lunch and the movies and laughed some more. She was the closest thing I have ever had to a sister.
                                                  
Then one day, out of the blue, she did a 180 on me.  She would not explain why, she said she couldn't talk about it. I apologized many times for whatever I had done, but there was no turning back. The friendship was over... she walked.

OUCH... all I could do was just keep moving. It took a while to recover but in that process I learned a couple of things about being a better friend.


First, I allow my friends to move in and out of my life freely. Just because I don't see them everyday doesn't mean we're not still friends. I am not "needy" and I don't cling to any of them. I'm my own BFF. If no one is available I am comfortable going to the movies alone, to lunch, even shopping... its all good. I have lots of friends and family and I enjoy them but I allow them the same freedom that I value.


The second thing I learned was to be a better version of myself. I had to honestly look myself in the mirror and see if I liked what I saw. There were a few rough edges. I am fairly quick witted and I love to laugh but I have worked very hard to make sure that what comes out of my mouth does not hurt someone else. I am definitely more patient and then there is... FORGIVENESS. I have finally, finally come to understand that I should forgive others quickly and freely not just for them but because I can't keep carrying it around... its too heavy.

Am I perfect? Absolutely not... I am a work in progress. I love this quote by George Elliott. It speaks to the kind of friend I would like to become...

"Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away."