Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Time to Consider Friendship

Hello friends,

To our left is a picture of three little friends. At the top of the puppy pile is Pixel, who is nine months old. To the right is my weenie dog, Happy Dog. To the left is Peanut, who is nearly four years old. Really? Nearly four, already? Happy Dog, of course, will soon be eleven years old.

He's growing old, but then, so am I. I'm not crazy about growing old. Gravity is not nice to a woman of 62, and muscle-tone is a thing of the past. Even though I garden, including weeds, pulling up sod, and digging out boulders, still I find that my body betrays me. Enough of the pity party.

I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately, and how illusive it is. If you have one close friend in a lifetime, then you are very rich. I'm not talking about popularity. Nor am I talking about that local pub, "where everyone knows your name." I'm talking about friendship where success is celebrated, and faults and imperfections are overlooked. In fact, sometimes those eccentricities are celebrated and considered a virtue.

We have lost, I believe, in modern society the ability to forge true friendships. We choose friends who think as we do; go to the same Church; or who don't go to Church. We want someone to validate us, not give us a different point of view.

I have one friend, outside of my family. She and I were both pushing forty when we met; both military wives; and we spent nearly eight years living across the street from one another. We did things that made us laugh; we shared sorrows; and we watched our kids grow up together. Even though we live thousands of miles a part, now, we still keep in touch. We have shared lives, experiences, and we forgave one another quickly. I can't think of anyone whom I miss, the way I miss her. She will always be my true friend.

My other friends are my daughters and my husband. Oh yes, aside from family, we are all friends, and we have unique relationships with each other. We all live to be together. We can't wait for that first cup of coffee, when everyone is home. We pile on the bed, along with the sleeping pups above, and we toast the day: Tink...go the cups, as we cry, "I love everyone in this room!!" Then we share our experiences, thoughts, and feelings. There's a lot of laughter. A lot of peace. These are my best friends.

The little pups, in their little puppy pile above, are very different. Happy Dog is older, an alpha-male, who still thinks he's the policeman in charge. Pixel, our little miniature Schnauzer is a lover, not a fighter. She adores Happy Dog, and he let's her. Peanut, is a sensitive four year old, filled with anxiety when her Momma is gone, yet when Momma comes home from work, she is a laughing, playful, bundle of joy. These little dogs fill my life with tenderness and love. They are my friends.

As you look at the picture of our puppy pile, above, remember that these little dogs are not naturally friends. They've worked things out, and although they have their idiosyncrasies, they are definitely friends. What an example they are: loving, arguing, vying for their space, laughing, playing, and, by God, telling time, as they have just now. It's time for lunch, and they are telling me.

Gosh, they are looking at me with wide-eyed expectation. I guess I'd best move along or they'll start barking. We wouldn't want lunch to be late.

Father in heaven. Thank you for the creatures you have given us, from the lowliest sparrow to these little pups, who make our lives rich, beyond compare. Grant us the grace, that we will practice wise stewardship. Let us never forget that you created them first.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

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