Saturday, June 21, 2008

With a friend at hand you will see the light

I think this is the image my Australian friend Kathie was referring to in an email she sent to me a couple of days ago. I'd mentioned recently that my best friend Lizzee and I were finally getting a chance to have a visit for the first time in over two years. In the past on my blog, I've used this painting by Lowell Herrero to illustrate Lizzee and me in our "mature" years...we have been best friends since we were 13 years old. This is what Kath wrote about us and it cracked me up:

When I was reading that Liz your friend was finally dropping by on Friday - I had this image in my head of those wonderful cartoon ladies that apppear on here - except it was you two - with a kid in each arm both running down the street after Chloe who is after a cat - hahahaha. Your blog could become a "best seller book".

I hope when Lizzee reads this entry she'll get as big a kick out of that mental image of us that Kathie had as much as I did! Sometimes when things get particularly crazy around here, that's just about the way it is. I get pretty distracted at times, to put it mildly. But, actually, Lizzee and I had a wonderful visit. It was so good to see her and finally make my own assessment of how she's really doing since all of her very serious health problems the past two years. For all she's been thru, she looked great. And even tho her life has been permanently altered by her health issues, she's still the same old Lizzee. I can't tell you how much good seeing her did for setting my mind at ease.

I don't know the average "life span" of most friendships but Lizzee mentioned in an email the other day that she and a group of ladies at Curves were talking about friendships and several of them had had long-standing friendships with their best friends, too. One lady said she and her best friend had been together for 46 years! So maybe our 41-year-old friendship isn't quite as unusual as we'd thought it might be. But the funny thing these friendships had in common was the fact they'd all basically started out the same way as ours did. On my first day at a new junior high school in 7th grade, Lizzee was sitting at a desk in front of me in one of our classes and she turned around and said, "Hi! I'm Liz. Do you want to be friends?" As simple as that! And these other ladies said their friendships had begun the same way, with either them or their best friends asking the "Do you want to be friends?" question. How strange, isn't it? Is it because, like the attraction that's there between a man and woman who fall in love, there is also some kind of a chemical thing between friends? Or is it because the friendship starts at such a basic, easy level it just grows from there? I know our friendship has ebbed and waned as far as the intensity, the closeness, of it thru the years. When marriages and family obligations entered the picture, we kept in contact mainly with birthday and Christmas cards. But, no matter how seldom or how often we got to see each other, the connection between us has always been there. It's as easy to talk to her now as it was 41 years ago. My daughter says she loves to be around us when we're together...the time she was with us when we were looking over some high school reunion/yearbook photos she said it was like Lizzee and I had our own kind of 'shorthand'. She'd start a sentence and I'd finish it. Or we'd recall something where we didn't even have to finish a sentence and we'd know what we were talking about. Kaitlin says she can just picture the two of us as we must've been like as teenaged friends.

I looked up the word "friend" and I found the Word History very interesting:

Word History: A friend is a lover, literally. The relationship between Latin amīcus "friend" and amō "I love" is clear, as is the relationship between Greek philos "friend" and phileō "I love." In English, though, we have to go back a millennium before we see the verb related to friend. At that time, frēond, the Old English word for "friend," was simply the present participle of the verb frēon, "to love." The Germanic root behind this verb is *frī-, which meant "to like, love, be friendly to." Closely linked to these concepts is that of "peace," and in fact Germanic made a noun from this root, *frithu-, meaning exactly that. Ultimately descended from this noun are the personal names Frederick, "peaceful ruler," and Siegfried, "victory peace." The root also shows up in the name of the Germanic deity Frigg, the goddess of love, who lives on today in the word Friday, "day of Frigg," from an ancient translation of Latin Veneris diēs, "day of Venus."

What can I say? I love Lizzee. And, by her faithfulness...her steadiness...her reliability...her goodness...her sweetness...her "being there"...I know she loves me.

I love you, Lizzee.


Mrs. Parks said...

I found a quote once that said,
"There is no better mirror than an old friend".

I love that.
I also LOVE that picture : )

Loretta said...

A best friend is a treasure. My friend of over 41 years died last Nov and every day I start to call her, then remember she's gone. Life isn't the same without her.