Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Art of Friendship

A few weeks ago I was attending a meeting made up of ladies who had the desire to offer random acts of kindness to others. Among the group are three good friends of my own, and even though I travel one hundred miles each way to attend this meeting, the draw of friendship and camaraderie for a good cause makes it an easy drive. As a warm-up, we went around the room to share something about someone who has made an impact on our lives.  The obvious, mothers, dads, grandparents, and teachers were honored, and no doubt I have had so many of those who have definitely been a major influence, as we all have. As it rolled around to me I couldn’t add anything new except, by my side (this is almost a literal phrase; we’ve been accused of being joined at the hip) was a person who had taught me the art of friendship so many times over in the better part of quarter century that we have been friends. As I began to speak, my voice went into that horrible high-pitched warble that happens when emotions are stronger than the voice box. I wasn’t able to eloquently pay tribute to the beauty of her selfless acts and the impact of how she has taught me what it means to really be a friend.

 Instead, I could only belt out, “ Shhee’s m-my-y-y, sniff, sniff, friend… shhe’s she’s the b-b-best.

She was touched, but this blubber ball was so sad that the right words to honor her were not spoken. This dear one is first to say that it has been a two way street, but I can’t help but pale in comparison to her. What we do have though is one of those rare strong bonds that withstands distance or time.  She is also a very, very private person and would not be too happy if I announced her name to the blogosphere (all 9 people who read this, even if the potential of more is possible). So, I won’t.  But, I do want to share the poem I wrote to her almost 20 years ago, that gives a small inkling of what makes up the body of a true friend. I only hope that you have had a similar experience of knowing such a friend, and in return becoming a better person for it. I know I am.

“The Body Perfect”

She looks at herself with

Dread and concern,

Fearing what is to come…

And when.

But, when God created my friend,

He added “extras” not given

To everyone.

He added a strong right arm

Connected to a delicate consoling hand;

Shoulders strong enough to withstand

A waterfall of tears.

Her heart seals in my secrets,

All the while silently packing

Away its own pain.

Deep piercing eyes watch for any

Chinks in my armor.

Tender, yet solid soles keep her ever mindful

 Of the personal pain

 And sacrifice of

Taking any goal-driven step.

At the hip He devised an extra hinge

Made for locking

Onto the hip of another.

No other body was created with as much

Love and perfection.

                                                                                              Suzanne Robinson

                                                                                      August, 1995