I have been thinking a considerable amount about friendships. They are simply mysterious to me. I decided to share with you a bit of the optimistic side of the mystery of friendship. Because we could all use a little more sunshine in our friendships, and optimism in how we relate to other people. So I am baring my soul to you, hoping that somehow this bring courage to your heart. So here is what I wrote concerning friendship, for a writing excersise I was doing.
Do you believe in love at first sight? I do. Not in the way it is usually talked about, the romantic way. As far as romance goes, I subscribe to the Anne of Green Gables meet Gilbert Blithe philosophy. The "You've Got Mail" development of annoyance, turned friendship, turned deep, abiding, perfectly matched love. But you aren't here to be told a story already wrote. With all romantic notions aside, I absolutely believe in love at first sight.
The first memory of have of seeing her is this: I remember looking across the room at a beautiful woman. She was in her thirties, her hair multi-colored, pulled back in a barrette. She was wearing a turquoise-ish shirt. With her were four children, the youngest about 2, the oldest eleven or twelve. She was seemingly confident and shy at the same time. And I knew that I wanted to be friends with this woman. I knew that I must make her feel welcome, that I wanted her to stay. I absolutely adored her. And so, as she sat there, against the north wall, I went to talk to her. I could have never guessed that two years later she would be my matron of honor. Or that almost four years later we would both be pregnant with little girls at the same time. That our children would be friends and that our lives would become intertwined enough that in many ways her story is my story and mine is hers. They are tangled up enough that you can't really tell either story alone, and have it remain fully intelligible.
But from across the room, I didn't know that she would have as quirky of a sense of humor as I have, or that I would be wearing her shawl to keep warm on my wedding day. I didn't know anything about her, but somehow across the room, as a stranger, I loved her.
And then, years later, with no real warning, it happened again. Love at first sight. I was at a friends house. I had just dropped by. And this friend went to introduce me to the mystery woman in the other room. She turned around and bam! All at once I saw ten different things. A sparkle, coming from her eyes. A gentleness wrapped in confidence, served in joy, with a side of laughter. Immediately, I wanted to be her dear friend. For her to be the kind of person who says at your funeral at 85 years old, "this is my life long friend, Mary walker, we met when we were in our twenties, and we have served the lord together ever since. She is truly dear to me and I don't know what I would have done without her." To me, meeting her seemed like an incredible and significant thirty seconds of my life. So dramatic. I have no idea the exacts of what she was wearing, only that I was stunned. Seeing so many qualities I love in the same person in such a brief second. It was like getting a character snapshot. And that picture seemed like a thousand words. Many of the characteristics I love the most, genuineness, joy, reckless passion coupled with calculated precision, gentle but strong. Things I long to see all around me all the time, but are rare and hard to find. And once again, love at first sight struck me hard.
I often wonder what make people deep friends. Commitment? Laughter? Sacrifice? Opposites attracting? Perhaps similar dreams and passions. But I myself couldn't tell you. I have many friends. But the entity of friendship remains mysterious. There are a thousand intricate things I could say, but how do I explain something as inexplicable as love at first sight.
If you come to my funeral, I hope I will be lucky enough to have been right, that the mystery woman will be standing there, next to my maid of honor saying, "Mary walker, she was my life long friend." And if she were to die, anytime before I, I would tell you the truth. She had me from hello.