“You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self.
Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them.”

~ Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull ~

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Lifetime . . .

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant . . .

When one thinks of the people and relationships that are in her life, one can't help but think of her family. Parents and siblings. Grandparents. Aunts and Uncles. Cousins. And of course, if one is married, there is the family on that side as well. All of these people make up the connections (and sometimes disconnections) of a life lived from infancy into adulthood. Lessons learned, trials faced, and of course love given and received.

And then there are friends. The ones you make in childhood that last well into adulthood. I have such a friend. Her name is Bernie.

Bernie and I met when we were six years old. She lived across the street from me. A street that was full of kids and one that to a six year old's eyes, seemed magical. There were forts to build, forests and creeks to explore, games to play and even a haunted house in amongst a stand of trees. I remember the day it was torn down to make way for some new houses. It was like the sky had been opened up - almost apocolyptic. No more trees. No more haunted house. But when the bulldozers came to dig up the soil to make way for those new basements, we were all giddy with excitement because there were mountains to climb!

4th Grade
Bernie is in the second row on the left.
I'm in the front row fourth from the left.

Bernie and I, although never in the same class save for 4th grade, went through grade school together. Through Brownies and Girl Guides together. Through birthday parties and summers together. I was a possessive type of friend. I never liked her playing with other kids, so she would sneak them to her house by going down her back alley. We laugh about that now, but when I was a kid it was like someone had stabbed a knife in my heart. Not that I didn't have other friends that I happily played with, but Bernie was mine and I didn't like to share.

Big Hair

Little Hair

And then the day came when my family moved from our little house in the city to a bigger house in a small town several miles away. I was devastated to leave her behind, but she came along with us on moving day, spending the day and then getting sick so she had to be taken home. Bernie in those early days, was painfully shy and I think being away from home got the best of her.

My Wedding 1990

We remained friends throughout high school and into early adulthood. We remained friends through failed marriages and into strong, healthy marriages that survive to this day. We remained friends through a lost pregnancy, back surgery and a move thousands of miles away. We remained friends when she surprised me by coming to visit (having conspired with Brian) and I thought she was the 'other woman'. And when we were able to get together this past April for a trip to Maui it was a dream come true.

Maui 2010

Goddesses on the beach.

Bernie joking around with her snorkel.

Bernie has taught me more than she could ever know. About humility and strength. About patience and perserverance. About kindness and giving in ways that are not material in nature. About laughing at oneself and not taking herself too seriously. And that she's a much better cook than I.

Bernie in the kitchen.

After 44 years of being friends, and with the miles between us, we don't talk very often except on birthdays and special occasions. But one thing I know for sure . . . if ever I need her, she'll be there . . .

Best Friends Forever


1 comment:

Plumrose Lane said...

How immensely blessed you are to have a friend like Bernie and vice versa and what an absolute treasure! I can't say I've had many of the connections in life you spoke of but my sons are the embodiment of all types.
Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful part of your life!