Dear Cool Woman,
I love technology! Itâ€™s great to receive an email, text, Facebook announcement, or voice mail from a friend whoâ€™s far away. Life is busy and we have so many new ways to communicate, and yetâ€¦
When I’m sitting right in front of a friend, and see herÂ face, I feel as if Iâ€™ve just arrived on aÂ desertÂ oasis. It makes me feel safe, complete, seen, appreciated, known, and a plethora ofÂ other joy-filled words that captureÂ my heart. If youâ€™re like me, youâ€™ve collected friends from the various chapters of your life who liveÂ in different places, and know you in the many roles you’ve played along the way.Â The physicalÂ presenceÂ of a friend is worth more than any amount of gold.
One of my very favorite authors, John Oâ€™Donohue, writes about friendship in his book Anam Cara (which means soul friend in the Gaelic language). He says, â€œâ€¦it is lovely to receive a letter or a phone call or even, in the silence of your own spirit, to sense their presence. Yet there is such deeper excitement when you return again and see the face you love; at the moment you enjoy a feast of seeing.â€ Thatâ€™s exactly how it is.
Who are your soul friends? You most likely haveÂ many. One test is when you’ve Â been away from a soulÂ friend for a month, a year or several decades, then reunite;Â you look into their eyes, and youâ€™re both transported to the time when you were connected on a regular basis. Time stands still withÂ this soul friend.
For me this happened dramatically this yearâ€”twice with Bob and Judy, and Cal and LaRae. Both couples were friends from over thirty years ago when our childrenÂ were young. Of course, we keep in touch with their activities on Facebook, yet, when we sat together over dinner, it was as if no time had passed. True, we were older, but the bond of friendship supersedes hair color, and any small (teeny-tiny) line on the face or other physicalÂ challenges. Even though I could not articulate my emotions with anything concrete or specific, I said to them, â€œNow I remember why I liked you so much.â€ Maybe the gift of friendship is meant to remain aÂ beautiful mystery.
Right now, I live in Arizona, yet travel to the Midwest each year to reconnect with at least a few friends and family. These pilgrimages are vital to my daily life. No matter which changes we are experiencing, the grounding effect of family and friends enhances vitality.
These precious ones remind me who I was, am and always will be; and the current circumstances of our lives can be discussed as if it were a continuation of a previous conversation. We step back into the flow of that relationship with ease. This could beÂ of the mostÂ beautiful aspect ofÂ human experience.
My message today is simple. Make a list of the friends you cherish. Visit them, if possible, and if itâ€™s not possible, write about them. Recount three or four of your most vivid memories. Articulate their place in your life.
And please,Â share your writing with themâ€”we forget so quickly those individuals who have supported, guided and shaped your path.Â At the same time,Â it willÂ give them a lift to know that Â they’ve made a difference in your life. This can be the best medicine for your soul and theirs. Let me know what happens as a result.
May you find comfort in the face of your friends,