Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Old Friends

My mother had friends she played bridge with, and invited for dinner, and went shopping with. They were the long-time friends that she knew well enough to confide in and share secrets with. She intended me to have friends like that, too, I think. Mostly I remember that she expected me to be kind and nice and behave well in public. My friends were often the children of her friends. She died when I was 10, so I didn't make many friends that were outside our family circle and school connections. Now I see how much those people have meant to my life. The friends you started out with stay with you, even when you grow up or move away. I value them in the memories we share, and when we meet, we still have things to talk about.

I have friends that I've only known for a brief period. Something about us clicked and we make instant contact. Maybe my mother's training in being nice and kind to others paid off. I'm not sure why but it does work. I've learned to find that quality in other people that makes me feel safe and generous and suddenly I remember them like they were one of the original special friends in my childhood. I'm not feeble minded yet, but when someone becomes a friend, they take on a different quality of closeness and camaraderie. They get filed in my mind or my heart like one of the people I knew when I was five. That I didn't know them then doesn't matter anymore. Sometimes they share a bit of history with me and it's like they just reminded me of something I always knew about them. Even if it is new and astonishing, it is seems like they just reminded me .

Having those friends I knew and loved may have set a standard in my life for loving friends. It is reassuring to know that even though I am far from home and most of my family, I can still enjoy friends and make new ones and be encouraged and and uplifted by them. Old friends are treasures worth keeping even when I just met them.

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