Friends of Worth
A Tribute to 'Terrible' Terry
At our worst can come the utmost best. She was 'grace undeserved', 'unconditional love manifest', the epitome of the best of the best of friendships. I, to this day don't have a clue why she cared the way she did, except to believe the miraculous, or 'acts of God'. She came into my life with perfect timing, to ride a 'perfect storm', and see me through the nightmare. "Terry the terrible", or Terry Terrific, were names i used to tease her with, because it defined her persona. For she was all passionate, so cut and dry with everything either black or white, love or hate, war, peace, and no greys and in between. When all hell broke loose ten times over and my fair weathered friends vanished into thin air, guess who was last person standing.
When i was weak, she was strong. She kept me sane, held me up, prayed, made me laugh, gave me hope and did everything to keep me whole. She was like an angel assigned to guard me when i needed it most. When my husband of 28 years died, Terry and family did not just cry with me. I was comforted by the deepest kind of love one can find from a friendship. She was with me, fully connected until i moved on. One of the last things she told me was " I want you to be happy. Don't ever think you have to explain yourself to anyone. Don't look back". She's now gone, and i so miss her much too much. But, she will remain the biggest jewel of a friend in my heart. I can only wish that i had been as good a friend to her.
A Remarkable Friend
I know a true and rare story of a man who helped his jobless friend by putting him on his company's payroll for years. This poor man was able to keep a roof above his head and feed his wife and their children. Ill and dying, there was no way he would ever pay such debt, despite making promises he would. He was assured by his benefactor that he owed nothing and that it was a gift. Amazing! I know no one who has equaled this act. But, I'm sure there are stories of benevolence out there of friends who walked the 'extra mile' to help another friend.
What friendship requires:
Our biases and indifference can deny us some of the most wonderful and endearing relationships we can ever have. I've met people who have missed out on life, the gift of friendship, because they chose to be judgemental and be self- deceived. Friendship requries us to be open, fearless, and to have a spirit of generosity. It baffles me to no end, how is it, that relatives who should be our closest allies, sadly fail to provide us the friendship we need, and in many cases, even turn out to be our worst enemies. What a tragedy in human relationships, when kins treat family members as if they were lepers.
One of the most torturous times in my life can best be described and compared to a bad sci-fi movie, with an underlying comedic tone. I call it "My Alien Encounter of the Umpth Time", and in it i am abducted into the Kingdom of Plasticity, to become an 'experimental toypiece' in a commune of 'Illusionists'. There's a recurring scene where i am made to sit and dine with my alien family, and they pretend I'm invisible. I get lost in translation, as they speak among themselves, a language I try to decipher. They know English, but they prefer that i don't understand, nor try to participate. I listen to the chatter, and it all sounds so shallow and boring. My captors are determined to torment me by denying me love and friendship. I try to escape, but became too weak to run. Anyway, it does end well. The sun burns the plastic people, and i am rescued by my best friend who finds me after a long and difficult search.
I would like to share a song my daughter, bff, dedicated to me on friendship. It has the most beautiful lyrics ever written i think. Recorded by Whitney Houston with Gospel singer Cece Winans, it is one of those songs that never fail to tug at my heart and bring tears to my eyes. See full video below, but here's part of the song...
"Count on me through thick and thin
A friendship that will never end
When you are weak, I will be strong
Helping you to carry on
Call on me, I will be there
Don't be afraid
I can see it's hurting you
I can feel your pain
It's hard to see the sunshine through the rain
I know sometimes it seems as if it’s never gonna end
But you'll get through it, just don't give in"
Henri Nouwen said, "When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."
I believe in seasons of friendships, from the shifting, to the fleeting, and those carved by time and created like monuments.
I also value the early foundation of the shallow and the innocent, divinely laid to prepare us for bigger things to come. I was ten years old when neighbors Lucy and Linda used to come around to play dolls and tea time with me. I don't recall words we said to each other, but, oh, the sheer pleasure of that first friendship experience. When my family moved away, my heart ached so much missing them. But, like a stream, new friends came along naturally, and thankfully, continues til this day. Most memorable were High School days where i met kids from the international community, a melting pot of girls and boys from different backgrounds and culture. It was a wonderful revelation, a discovery of what we had in common despite race, color, language and religion.
In today's lingo, someone has coined the word "frenemy", descriptive of the dual facet of friendship. Who of us have not been betrayed, nor been hurt by someone we loved and trusted, such as a bestfriend? The Roman philosopher Cicero believed that in order to have a true friendship with someone, one must have complete honesty, truth, and trust. He also thought that friends would do things for each other without expectation of repayment. If a friend is about to do something wrong, one should not compromise one's morals and let the friend commit the action--one should explain what is wrong about the action, and help one's friend understand what is right.
If friends are like pearls, i am proud of my pretty string. Despite their imperfections, i consider every stone precious. What a a privilege to find friendship in our overcrowded, but lonely and often cruel planet I want to thank and honor those who have been so kind and generous with me. I also want to give credit to the two people whose friendship rocks my life every moment of everyday...tadah! My hubby and my daughter!!! What would i do without them?
Dinah Craik said it..."But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one's deepest as well as one's most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort - the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person - having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right 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 then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away. "
Count on Me
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