Here and There

Thursday, December 04, 2008


One of my very dearest friends is moving away. I feel like a character in a children's book. Like the Alexander book about moving: "Alexander, Who's not (Do you hear me I mean it) Going to Move." But it's happening whether I like it or not. I like it decidedly not.

Friends had been hard for me for awhile. For awhile I felt so lonely, I was shy about myself, I felt frightened about getting close to someone. I thought if I ever had a best friend again it would hurt terribly and why would anyone want to be my friend anyway? When we moved here, women were so incredibly kind to me. I was so loved and cared for by my sister, women at church, old friends that I didn't see often.

But I held back. If the question was in my mind, "Should I call her?" The answer was "no". It would bug her, I don't know her that well, she probably has a lot going on, how do I know if she would want to hang out with me...on and on. It was this problem and I didn't know how to fix it. I had a lot of friends, ladies I admired and loved, but I didn't know how to get to the next level of friendship. The one where you talk to the person without thought about whether or not. You share meals, moments, conversations, trips, random errands, news, secrets and recipes. I had had that once and I didn't anymore and part of my confusion about how that had happened left me so handicapped. I felt like a runt, not equipped, totally clueless.

Enter, God. I asked to be healed from this burden. It was so heavy to be so self-conscious. So NOT me. Two things came from prayer for me, an image of being wounded and that every time that wound stung that God wanted to relieve the pain. That I was healing, it was just still painful sometimes. The second was Psalm 91, that has become such a comfort to me. To me, that Psalm equals being held by God. That's why I made Dana read it in the dim light during my labor with Lily. It always makes me feel known and loved. Two things I needed to believe that not only God and my family felt about me, but friends too.

Enter, friend who is leaving. She kept calling me. She kept wanting to hang out. There was no shoe waiting to drop. She liked me, she remembered things about me and got to know me better and better. We had fun together. We were pregnant at the same time, had babies and then all of a sudden were home during the day. Ding-a-ling-a-ling. Hey, wanna go to the beach? Hey, wanna go to Target? Wanna sit in the backyard? I need a cocktail, let's have a party! If I think, "Should I call her?" I do. She gave me this sense of confidence and pure joy about best friends again. Because of her, I have not just one best friend, but many. Some wall crumbled in me and I felt more at ease with all my friends. I feel incredibly hopeful about my capacity for friendship. I'm not scared anymore.

I am so sad she's leaving. It would seem this would be the worst thing that could happen. What kind of fallout will happen for me that the person that made me feel confident and safe about letting my guard down is leaving? It should set me back a mile! But it doesn't. I am moved to tears almost daily by how much I will miss her and how I can't really imagine my daily life without her, but whatever healing that started even before she arrived in Berkeley has been done. I am so grateful to her for loving me so well and helping me learn how to share friendship in a new way. I am so glad for all the people I am close to because of her.

This past year has been an especially golden one. The slow pace of being at home with a little one and sharing those slow, free days with some fantastic people and their own little ones warms my heart so much. I will always remember these years as charmed in a way. The happy hours, the bbqs, the beach and the garden. The sweet feeling with which I remember my early college days I thought I would never feel about another time. But looking back over the past few years, I am inspired and relaxed. That perfect combination of stirring and simmering. And that makes me so peaceful.

So I say to my friend who is leaving, besides Thank you! I love you!, I say don't worry. Thanks to my new-found friendship health I don't worry about our friendship. I know we will always be close, we will always be in each other's hearts.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

Ah, nothing like a cathartic blog post.


marguerite said...

and such a beautiful one too -- thanks for sharing

Bora said...

Jill, this is a wonderful, heartfelt post...and a great gift for your friend.

Erin said...

this post makes a sister's (and friend's) heart glad.

pdana said...

Wow, what a great post. I like your cathartic side!!

charleen said...

I also really liked your post. So real! Thank you.

Jood said...

Thank you for sharing, Jill. You moved me to tears - in a good way.