Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Five - Friendship

My friend Kathrynzj (with whom I shared a cabin on the very first RevGals Big Event, 2 years ago) is just home from this year's joyous reunion...and writes thus 

I spent the better part of last week on a continuing education cruise with a group of revgals. Both the class on hospitality and the connections made with friends (old and new) were phenomenal. I always have a difficult time with re-entry into reality from times away but this, aided by getting nailed with strep throat, has been more difficult than usual. Not only does it a take a few days (weeks? months?) for it to stop feeling like I am on a boat, but my heart misses my friends.

In parish life the boundaries are clear and they are there for a reason, but it can make the life of a minister a lonely one. It is such a tremendous gift to spend a few days with women who not only are wonderful and gifted, but who also get exactly what you do and why you do it. The hugs are genuine and free and the laughter is awesome.

Many of us have friendships - past and present - with these same qualities. And so today we will celebrate Friday with friendship:

1) Do you remember your first best friend? What did you do together? Are they still in your life?
C. and I met in the sandpit on our first day at school...We were both 4 years old. After a hiatus when we went to different schools, we reconnected in the 6th form and have never looked back. Her parents hosted my 18th birthday party in a wonderful barn conversion her father had just finished...At my 21st birthday party, she met her future husband. She is Godmother to my first born, as I am to hers...who celebrated HIS 21st birthday just this week. We dont see each other often now, as we're some three hours drive apart (which, in the UK, feels like a big deal), but when we do we always pick up exactly where we left off. We have shared so much - birth, death, joy, tears...I love her dearly.

2) Did you ever have to move away or have your best friend move away from you?
We were a fairly stable community growing up...S my other best friend, who felt more like a sister, went away to boarding school when I was 8 - I remember being supposed to be happy that she had won a place at the school she needed to attend,and just wanting to cry and cry because she would be going away and nothing would ever be the same again. As it happens, I was wrong...some friendships transcend even boarding school!

3) Are there people in your life now that you can call 'friend'?
Thanks be to God, there are indeed. I'm blessed with many wonderful women, (and some no less wonderful men)  many (though not all of them) clergy - because, you see, this is a VERY odd way to spend your life, and it does help if those whom you spend time with have some understanding of its many peculiarities. I have friends from the last parish who are now allowed to be proper friends, as the muddy waters have retreated...I even have one friend just across the road. But I am so exceedingly extrovert that I really need all of them - and can still feel quite forlorn and out on a limb occasionally. Having people about with whom it's safe to both laugh and cry without reserve is really important...Learning to make sure I spend time with my friends doing just that is something I'm working on this year...

4) What are some of your favorite things to do with your friends?
Walk with the dogs and talk as we go
Enjoy a curry and talk as we go
Share a bottle of red wine as the rain beats down and ......yes....that's the one

5) What is a gift friendship has given you?
The confidence to believe that I am loveable...None of the beloved people I call "friend" has any obligation to seek me out and spend time with me...that they do so, for no good reason beyond the fact that they want to, makes my world a shiney place.

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