Visiting a friend is always a treat and today was no different. I was visiting this friend because she has had a hip replacement at quite a young age (my version of quite a young age). This has occurred because she had childhood arthritis. I have known her for more than 30 years. She actually started out as my boss, the head of a Department I was working in. She was impressive back then and is only more so now. As my boss, she gave me the freedom needed to develop a speciality treatment unit, which went on to become internationally recognized in terms of its treatments and research. Without her non-controlling way of being, combined with her trust in her employees’ skills, our Department would never have achieved what it did.
Over the years things haven’t always gone her way and yet she has never whinged or complained. She always kept a smile on her face. She took each stage of life by the horns with grace and acceptance. She was always invested in personal growth and consequently, has a uniquely beautiful way of being in this world. I am lucky to have her in my life. As I saw her walk toward me from the patients’ lounge at the rehab centre, using only one cane and only one week after surgery, I was again staggered by her resilience and strength. Go my friend!!!! 🙂
As a nice aside, I actually introduced her to her current partner, a lovely man, I now call Ol Blue Eyes. How I did this still makes me cringe a little but if you don’t take chances, you can never have great outcomes….but you can be left with mud on your face!!!! Lucky for me, the man in question is a real gentleman and took my approach with grace and without shaming me. I call it a work of divine intervention because why he didn’t hang up on me, a woman he barely knew, I still don’t know. He could probably hear my teeth chattering over the telephone line.
Yesterday, I went out without another friend. Had a lovely lunch and shopping experience. The day commenced in a vintage-looking coffee shop but with curdled milk in our coffee….MMMM. A young man was running this newly established business and tried again with 2 more cups but with the same outcome. I apologized, feeling very bad for him and his efforts. He offered our money back but we declined the offer as we slinked away with our tails between our legs, feeling like heels. But my friend and I, never down for the count, soldiered on with shopping and finished off with a gorgeous coffee and lunch. This friend is also a wonderful person. When I met my new husband and moved into the new area, it was she who took me under her wing and we’ve been wonderful friends ever since. We have shared struggles, joys, marriages, children moving out, a grandchild (hers lucky thing), our faith and meditation practices….too many coffees to count and wonderful supportive chats. We even went overseas together, with our husbands included (of course)and had the best time. I’ll never forget, falling apart on Monaco railway station. I have mentioned in past posts about my panic attacks which tend to flare up when I travel. I was sitting on the ground, exhausted and overwhelmed from battling a bad day of panic and she just sat down with me, looked me in the eyes and asked how she could help. No judgement, just love. I was immediatley calmed. I felt safe.
This same friend is a teacher and her work ethic is gob-smacking(an Australianism). I wish she had taught my children. If the parents of her students knew the efforts she puts in and the extra hours, they would be amazed. She is a softly spoken, reserved person, a great balance to my extroverted way of being and has taught me much in the way of being graceful under fire.
Another pair of friends are sisters who sustained me through a very sad period of time. As a single mother, they took me under their wings and had myself and the boys over for many a dinner and even took us on a holiday with them. They too have been constants in my life for 20 years. They too have been woman of faith and love who have influenced me and made me a better woman.
Anyway, I raise a glass to woman and their friends. If only men knew how many marriages are sustained by friends who listen and heal your hurts, who give you the courage to keep going, who love your families like you do. Here’s to friendships.