Showing posts with label friendship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label friendship. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Reviewing The Love Of A Friend

Honoring Friendship

My review today won't be about a product but instead will be about the love of a friend, a long time friend who was given her wings this weekend. She will no longer be here physically to talk to but she will always be in my heart. How could she not be in my very soul? We were friends for 56 years! Almost 6 decades of wonderful memories. Times of laughter, times of sorrow, times of struggle, and times of triumph; we shared them all.

love of a freind
There is nothing like the love of a friend
image courtesy of pixabay.com
Our friendship had an odd beginning. It began the year we entered 7th grade. We both came from small towns in small school districts. Those two districts had consolidated bringing us together that first year of consolidation. We had a lot in common before we ever sought each other out. We were both the oldest child in our family and we were both being raised by a single Mom. In 1964 divorce wasn't at all common, not in our area anyway. Up until the day our two schools merged, both of us were the only family in our school whose parents had divorced. Neither of us had someone to talk to about how we felt; to understand what divorce does to the kids. We both felt a little lost.

Oddly, my Mom had a date with her Dad. As far as our parents are concerned, that part of the story fizzled out pretty quickly. What did come out of that random date was a friendship that bonded the two of us quickly. Suddenly there was someone who understood! There was someone who cried with you when you missed your Dad. A person who didn't say dumb stuff like, "I'm not allowed to hang out with you anymore because you don't have a Dad." We would laugh about that one, of course we both had fathers; they just didn't live with us anymore. Comments like that seem odd in today's society but back then we both heard it a lot.

Looking back, I think we were meant to be friends. The connection was instant and strong. It almost seemed like in the matter of 5 minutes we were soul sisters. We were pretty much inseparable from that first day. There wasn't much we didn't do together. Trust me we did a whole heck of a lot together! It is probably best if most of that behavior is not mentioned here. 

We planned our weddings together, we had children together and raised them at the same time. As time passed we lived away from each other and there might be spans of time that we didn't see or speak to each other for months. You must remember that back then we didn't have cell phones or computers to connect with. A phone call to your friend was long distance and cost money to make; money that was short in supply in our early married lives. My granddaughters don't even know what a long distance phone call is! Anyway, my point is that after months of not seeing or talking to each other we would begin like we had just seen the other the day before. 

friendship
Friends hold your hand through life
image courtesy of pixabay.com

It is pretty special to have a friend that loves you through it all. They know all your faults and love you anyway. Her friendship was special like that, it is something I have always treasured and been in awe of. I've had many friends throughout my life but none quite like her. She was special.

When her daughter called me last week, things went very quickly. I wasn't able to go hold her hand one last time. I didn't get to tell her how much she has always meant to me. At first that broke my heart but then I realized that she of all people knew. She knew I wouldn't be able to come because of the restrictions the world is going through and she also knew that I loved her. It was more important that she be able to spend those last few days with her children, her grandchildren and her family. I'm glad she got that time with them. 

As much as it hurts to lose her, I'm finding comfort in that she didn't have to suffer very long. She had a rare form of cancer that took her quickly. I'm glad she was spared months and possibly years of pain and those horrible treatments. God was going to take her anyway, I'm actually thankful He took her before she had to go through much of that. Those of us who love her have lost her physical being but her spirit lives on in all of us. We have our memories to cherish as we continue on without her. I don't doubt for a minute that our souls will reunite. She is waiting, she is getting things ready, she will be standing there with open arms when I meet her again. Her fight is over but her memory will live on through all who knew her. Rest in peace my sweet dear friend!

My final message in this post is to remind you of that special friend you have shared your life with. Reach out to her or him and let them know what they mean to you. I don't care if you just spoke yesterday, tell them again today. Tomorrow is not a guarantee for any of us, make sure that those you love know how you feel today.






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Thursday, January 30, 2020

An Invisible Thread - Book Review

"An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, and circumstance.  The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break."  ~ Ancient Chinese Proverb

Read an Excerpt
It began, for both the author and me, in much the same way.  We were two busy professional women, rushing past panhandlers, only to feel yanked back by an invisible thread.  Something we knew nothing about at the time, Laura Schroff in bustling Manhattan, and me in sleepy, rural Colorado, drew us to connect with individuals whose circles and lives were so far removed from our normal daily existence.

Was it destiny?  Perhaps.  All I know is that one instant of pausing to really see the person behind the sign became a moment of recognition.  For some reason, both Schroff and I were to have an awakening that came at the hands of destitution.

You never really see that coming—a whole new purpose born of paying attention, of listening, and of being drawn into the stories of those who have so little... those who are stereotyped as takers rather than givers.  This book review, of An Invisible Thread, is really the story within a story of how all of our lives are intertwined.

It seemed like any other ordinary day when Laura Scroff's life was profoundly, and forever, changed.  She had no intention of meeting up with a disadvantaged street child, but things that are meant to be tend to override executive sales agendas.

After initially passing up eleven-year-old Maurice, who asked Scroff for spare change because he was hungry, she found herself looking back over her shoulder at him, and then backpedaling to take Maurice to McDonald's for lunch.  This seemingly unassuming, one-time act of kindness then took on a life of its own.  Over Big Macs and fries, Laura and Maurice launched what would become a lifelong friendship.  Through months, and then years, of weekly meal dates and life-enriching experiences, these two became chosen family.

As one who had grown up with abuse, Schroff could empathize, and feel great compassion for this young boy who was attempting to survive the most extreme poverty—a poverty that extended well beyond that of hunger and lack of safe shelter.  Surrounded by drug-addled adults who were emotionally unavailable to nurture him, and living by his wits alone, Maurice's poverty went soul deep.

Though her friends and colleagues warned her off, thinking Schroff's outreach to Maurice was too risky, Laura's commitment to, and bond with him would not, and could not, be broken.  This would not turn out to be a one-way charity case.  It became a mutually beneficial friendship that transformed and healed both individuals.

He Shared His Story With Me Over a Subway Sandwich
Those who follow my Facebook postings know that I interact with homeless individuals on a daily basis.  It isn't something I would ever have thought would become a mission for me.  I just felt compelled one day to stop and listen to the personal story of the man behind one of those panhandling signs.

I Felt Compelled to Stop and Let Kindness Connect Us
I don't even like the word panhandler because of its negative connotation.  Doesn't it spark labels of beggar, or for some people, even something as ugly as loser?  I've seen and heard those drive-by insults when standing on a corner checking up on one of my homeless friends.  You know... the guy who rolls down his window and shouts, "Get a job, loser!"

Perhaps We Are All Living on a Prayer
What Laura and I found, when really getting to know the person holding that piece of cardboard in his hands, was a whole new way of living... a whole new way of perceiving those willing to bare their vulnerable souls to a public that isn't always very welcoming to them.  We both discovered, and opened up, the gifts of these beautiful souls.  We became the recipients of change that is not spare.

I highly recommend An Invisible Thread, not because it has been a New York Times bestseller, but because of its focus on kindness and goodness.  Do I believe there is an invisible thread?  Oh, yes... absolutely... and I am so thankful for those on the other end of my thread.







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Thursday, July 5, 2018

I'll Push You - Book Review

Every once in a while, if we are fortunate, we are given a glimpse into a relationship of such incredible beauty that we are instantly inspired to be more, to do more, and to love more than we ever have before.  To read I'll Push You, is to witness the ultimate expression of brotherly love and devotion.  It is the opportunity to enter into a pilgrimage of the heart.

There are volumes of travelogues written by those who have embarked on such ancient walks as the Camino de Santiago.  The thing that sets this story apart, along with Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray's extremely rare lifelong friendship, is the fact that this trek was supposed to be impossible for them to accomplish.  Few believed they could actually pull it off.  Of course, those naysayers did not comprehend the enormous overcoming power of Justin and Patrick's friendship, of their faith, and of their spirits.

Born just 36 hours apart, Skeez and Paddy, as they affectionately called one another, never really knew life apart from one another.  They were classmates throughout their schooling, were best man in each other's wedding, and only became closer when Justin was diagnosed with a debilitating neuromuscular condition similar to ALS.  When Justin lost his capacity to walk, and to use his arms and legs, Patrick did not hesitate to step in to help Justin's wife care for his every need.

Not one to wave a white flag and give up in defeat, though he would have been justified in feeling more than a little bit of hopelessness, Justin sought to find ways to continue to live life with gusto.  When he learned about the Camino in Spain (The Way), Skeez asked Paddy if they might attempt it. Without losing a beat, Patrick replied: I'll push you.  At the time, neither Justin nor Patrick knew just exactly what it was they had agreed to do.  All too soon, they would begin the most arduous journey of their lives.

How do you cross the Pyrenees, and other mountain ranges, make it through the Mesita desert, and ford through raging rivers in a wheelchair?  What do you do when the pathway becomes a steep, boulder-strewn bowling alley, or an impassable quagmire of deep mud?  These became the daily challenges that had stopped even the most robust pilgrims along the way.  With the help and kindness of strangers, Justin and Patrick are drawn into the pilgrimage within the pilgrimage.  What began as a travel adventure, becomes a deeply transformational journey of self-reflection.

Over the course of 500 miles, Skeez and Paddy explore what it means to love, to serve, to trust, and to grow in grace.  To take the journey with them is a blessing, a privilege, and the chance to ponder how we might be the love that turns the impossible into the possible.









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Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Lifetime of Friendship and All that Ultimately Matters in This Life, Love

Time & Love - Two Things that Never Die 

Words for the Wall - Wall Decal

Starting with a Poem:

You Stayed
A journey from 1979
my journey with you
my friend
you stayed,
Always and forever
you have been by my side,
throughout all this time
you have stood patiently,
During times when my life
pulled me in a hundred directions
you still stayed,
We have survived three decades of changes
from single girls
to married women
to the birth of children
there you stayed,
Through a thousand tears
and a million laughs
you stayed,
We are bonded in a such a way
that the word friend is too casual
we are sisters,
Distance may keep us apart
but sisterhood keeps us together
You can know I'm here
I can know you're there,
This gift of timeless friendship
can never be measured in miles
it's a treasured constant
Others may come and go
but my friend,
We stay
Angel Statue

Inspiration Sometimes Comes from the Most Unexpected Places

Obviously friendship is the inspiration, but the details of what led to this poem were unexpected.
The year was 2007, on Mother's Day. My family, (kids, step-kids, hubby) had our normal get-together here at the house.
It was rather an event filled day. About one hour before everyone arrived I split my head open on the edge of my youngest sons bed. I was so mad at myself! I ended up at the hospital for about 3 hours and six stitches later was back home. My husband and kids pitched in and handled things; everything was under control. 
Anyway, dinner was great, and the night moved along nicely as usual with some watching tv (football I think), one of my other sons playing guitar, the little one playing xBox, and my step-daughter, myself and her hubby in the kitchen chatting it up. The conversation that night was really great. We talked about the Five Stages of Marriage that I had recently heard on the John Tesh radio show. it was quite interesting. My hubby and I are definitely in stage 5. However, my step kids were quite interested in assessing what stage their relationships were in. It was fun and quite comical.
Anyway, the conversation led into my step daughter paying me a nice compliment about why she believed my marriage to her dad was successful. I was grateful for her take on it, but proceeded to tell her, that wasn't the reason. She looked a tad surprised. So I said, "Do you want to know why our marriage is a success?"....you could have heard a pin drop.. both she and her hubby were waiting for me to give the "big secret", "the reason a marriage works", "the answer for all mankind"...lol...ok.not...I proceeded to give her the answer according to me ..."The reason your Dad and I have had a successful marriage of 22 years is that "We Stayed".

Through it all, I stayed. Through it all, he stayed: In sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, in good times and in bad. When there may have been reasons for others to think we shouldn't stay together, it didn't matter, we stayed - My own personal experience taught me first hand that love CAN survive most everything.

What Inspired Me, Continued...

So, this leads me to this poem.
Nearly a month later, on the night before I was leaving to go out of town to visit my parents, I sat down in front of my computer and began the night by listening to a beautiful song called Indescribable. No matter your faith or belief system, this song exudes love.
While listening, I began thinking about that conversation with my step-daughter, and about who else in my life have "stayed". That led me to my friend for whom this poem was written.

I started remembering when my friend and I met and what our journey of 29 years included. I started thinking about how many 19 year olds today will have the same close friend 29 years later. I started thinking how rare this must be. 
With my friend's birthday approaching, this poem was my way of showing her my love and appreciation for "her staying"...through it all. 
So with the beautiful song "Indescribable, by Chris Tomlin" playing in the background, I opened up "Notepad" and started to write the short poem featured at the beginning of this article.


Today - UPDATES
Since writing this 8 years have passed. My husband and I are still going strong having recently celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. My friend and I are friends til the end and I'm off to visit her for her birthday in a week. We continue to stay.

By Barbara Tremblay Cipak
Drageda.com 



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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner

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