Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of reconnecting with forever friends after long absence. You know the type I mean. The kind of friend who saw you at your worst. Perhaps on multiple occasions. Yet they are still talking to you, happy to get your texts rife with emojis, or put you up for the night or week or month. Friends who could be counted on to say the hard things and the right things. Who picked up the pieces when life was falling apart – without sighing or rolling their eyes. Forever friends do these things for each other. They’ve been the quiet, present companion when life was at its lowest, and the loudest, goofiest cheerer when things were at their best. You can be apart for many years, decades even. The passage of time doesn’t matter in the slightest. Your hearts just recognize each other, and you pick up where you left off.
Funny thing about reconnecting with forever friends is sharing memories – what we’ve held on to, what was forgotten. I got to make amends to my friend Robin this weekend for nearly killing her in my car back in the late 80’s. I was sure I could make a changing stoplight one late night as we crossed Sunset Boulevard. There may have been alcohol involved. I’d forgotten about it, but it came up in our wide-ranging conversation. The good news is that no one was hurt except the right rear of my car. I haven’t tried to “make” a light in these intervening years so some part of me must have remembered. She forgave me. She also forgave me for having to give up a trip up the Amazon River to see pink dolphins we had planned all those years ago. I had a life circumstance that couldn’t get re-arranged. Robin went on a Jamaican cruise instead, and had her hair put into braids and came back rested and looking beautiful. We may have to go do that trip at some point to really make up for it. That would be fun. Jane forgave me for being a deficient Maid of Honor. Elyse forgave me for not being able to make it to her wedding at all. I had nothing to forgive them that I can remember. I do know that if I happen to recall something, I can tell them about it. And that makes all the difference.
Forgiveness came up a lot this weekend, so I’ve taken some time as I wait for planes to take off to see where I need to let bygones be bygones. I carry a few old resentments, one of them the size of a steamer trunk that rests squarely in my upbringing. A scattered few others are merely carry-on luggage. These old crusty wounds manage to color my present and will impact my future unless I put them to rest. Harsh words, mean actions and dismissiveness from years ago wind their insidious tentacles into my now. They are in stealth mode, so I often don’t recognize that they’ve impacted me, causing me to make decisions that are not the best, based as they are in fear. Hurtful memories dim my joy at odd moments. I love being right as much as anyone – maybe even more than most, but justifiable anger doesn’t seem like much of a reward to me. Hanging on to it can become a punishment, separating me from my fellows. Is it really that hard to let go and move on? Moving on entails work and change though. Is fear of change or maybe just plain laziness preferable to simply forgiving behaviors and actions that happened thirty or forty years ago? Not only let them go, but find something in that person that was a gift to me, and thank them for that? Whew now we’re talking the hard stuff. No wonder it’s keeping me up at night. Forgiving and being grateful for those people — finding something about them that is good and then releasing. Goodness knows with all the hate that is boiling up societally these days, dripping out a little love and forgiveness is a needed balm, even if only at the level of one person to another.
When I was little I had terrible growing pains behind my knees as I shot up multiple inches in a year. This feels like that, twinges that keep me up at night, hot tears that fall silently into my pillow, comebacks I wish I had said, memories I wish I didn’t have. I am very grateful I am rich in forever friends and blessed with a wise husband. I know I can count on them to still be here when I am done with this particular growth spurt, even if I navigate it reluctantly and with little grace.
Photo image found at: http://mariasilviaporlovas.blogspot.com