Friendships of the Soul…..
I have this thought rolling around in my head; one that can be adapted to many situations. Can a person love another person without having ever met the; can you really know a person without having ever met them face to face? Can you be friends with someone without having ever met them? While most would answer “no” my answer is “yes!”
When I started writing nearly four years ago I had no idea the volume of people my words would reach. I had absolutely no idea how far my words would take me and today, almost four years later I am humbled and amazed at how far the written word has taken me. What is most interesting to me is that somehow I have been able to meet and connect with people and become part of a cyber-community that feels comfortable and complete. When I wrote about my miscarriage for Lifetime Moms, I connected to over 40 women who had experienced the same pain and anguish that I had and could relate to them in a way that others could not. Not only was I able to reach them on a very deep emotional level, they too touched my heart in a way that none had done before. Having the opportunity to share from deep within my soul was not only therapeutic for me but life changing for some of them as well. Having a place where their sadness and distress could be justified and validated allowed them to begin the healing process; something that they had not been able to do until then. My experience through my written words began the healing process.
Having been given the opportunity to write for Lifetime Moms I was both excited and nervous. I read the bios of many of the contributors and felt a bit out of my league at first; there were some well-educated more experienced writers on this panel and then there was me; small town country girl teaching preschool in a Baptist church and taking care of my husband and two older children. It was all very intimidating at first. Deciding to take the plunge and just do it I found myself particularly connected to another writer who in my normal everyday life would probably not cross my path. Not only am I living in another state but on the outside we are totally different. She is quite the fashionista with two young children living in or near the big city; I on the other hand spend most of my time in jeans, t-shirts, sneakers working and living in a small rural town and my kids are grown or nearly grown. Faith plays a big part in both our lives; however, my Christian faith deep rooted in Methodist traditions is quite different from her deep rooted Jewish faith. That fact alone would probably keep most from even attempting to start a relationship. But somehow this uptown Jersey girl and I have developed a bond that while difficult to adequately explain is unbelievably strong.
Melissa and I have never met face to face yet we are close. In trying to explain it all to my husband recently I shared with him that she was the kind of person I could share my deepest secrets to and know she would keep them safe; she was trustworthy, dependable, honest and sincere. Not sure he understood I tried explaining that quite often we meet people in person and whether we want to admit it or not we allow what we see influence how we feel. The environment around us I believe often prohibits us from connecting with certain people. By taking all of the distractions and differences out of the equation Melissa and I have formed a friendship that would more than likely not exist; the physical distance between us alone is an obstacle. However, what I have discovered is that by taking out all of the physical distractions Melissa and I have connected through written word. Openly sharing our thoughts and emotions in writing has allowed us to develop a connection that has become a treasured friendship. I know that when I receive a message from Melissa about something I have written or a note of encouragement when I do not feel well that it is sent from the heart.
Friendship is a vital part of our lives whether it is in physical proximity or at a distance through the heart. Some friendships require the physical contact in order to thrive; and that’s okay. Other friendships like mine and Melissa’s develop through what some would say unconventional methods. Either way these friendships are the key to our emotional existence. I believe that human beings are created to be in relationship with one another and that those relationships are what sustains us throughout our lives. I encourage you to focus on the relationships that nurture your soul and add meaning to your life. It’s not about the quantity of relationships in your life it’s the quality. Famed children’s book author and photographer Jon Katz shares his thoughts on the importance of friendship stating “I think if I’ve learned anything about friendship, it’s to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don’t walk away, don’t be distracted, don’t be too busy or tired, don’t take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.” Enjoy your friendships, nurture them and know that friendship is essential to our health and happiness.
For my friend Melissa, know that you are a bright spot in my day and a joy to my heart. I look forward to the day when we meet face to face; you are an amazing woman who has added so much to my world; I am so lucky to call you my friend.
I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!