Friends

Have you ever had the kind of friend where, no matter how much time passes, the two of you can pick up the phone and pick up the relationship, just where you left off? Such people know you so well that you feel a kinship and love for them, even in the long in-between.

Such friends are rare, indeed.

But I don’t want friends like that. Or at least I don’t want to be a friend like that. I want to be the kind of friend that makes time to be together, that nourishes and nurtures a friendship because it is worthy of it, no matter how busy life can be.

Doesn’t that sound good? I know. That’s who I want to be. It is an aspirational statement, rather than a reflection of my current reality. I am not even a good friend on Facebook. But I want to be a better friend. Not on Facebook. I have no aspirations of that. I want to be a better friend to the people who I have previously celebrated as pick-up-where-we-left-off-waaaay-too-long-ago friends.

This is how I ended up moving into Heather’s cats’ room for the weekend. The cats were not pleased to have a stranger in their home, but Heather was happy to adopt a stray friend for the weekend.

At night, I curled up on the cozy bed which sits among the high-rise carpeted cat towers, the dresser turned pet food pantry, and the baby gate which stretches to the ceiling. By day, we curled into our comfortable friendship, which sits among these playful pillars of shared memories, a well-stocked pantry of common interests, and our heart’s gates wide open to deeply share our lives with each other. We also laughed so hard that it made us pee, just a little. It was a good and holy visit, even if Myles, Mercury and Billy couldn’t wait for me to go.

Friends are such a gift. Fred and I visited with a friend in April, and I will visit with another dear friend in New Hampshire next weekend. Yesterday, I had the joy of meeting with new friends, forged from our time at Iona. I didn’t know if our friendship would survive the journey back to our full and separate lives. But as their sweet faces smiled from their Zoom boxes, I was grateful for the ways we are choosing to carry this kinship forward.

There is another dear friend on my mind often these days. My friend, Rich, is dying from cancer. He is also living every moment as fully as he is able and saving all of his limited energy for his wife and children. I have not seen him in a couple of months, though I have pestered him with offers of special-delivery hugs. So, I offer my friendship by text message, and am grateful whenever he uses his waning time to respond with appreciation.

One final friend I celebrate today is the one I married 27 years ago. We are exploring new places, eating good food, and watching too much Netflix. We loved Fiddler on the Roof at North Shore Music Theater. We can’t wait for Game 4 of the Celtics vs. Mavs tonight. And we will root, root, root for the home team at Fenway Park this weekend. It is wonderful to have the luxury of time together. Fortunately, no cats were displaced in the enjoyment of these activities!