“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ~ Henri Nouwen (1932-1996)
Normally I would blog about the little treasures to be found in a city like Columbus, OH, and there are those, but I want to take a different path for this posting. Given where we stayed for a couple of days, I feel compelled to touch upon the beauty of friendship, one that is comfortable, one that is steady.
How many of us have had the great fortune of maintaining a connection with someone from our childhood? Terry has a special friend that he has held onto since junior high, a connection born of the fantasies of adolescent boys, and that has been a constant in his life through many highs and lows for both.
A cancer diagnosis for Terry brought us to Columbus four years ago and a friendship that was already long-standing grew so much deeper, a tragedy flowing into a blessing. I was fortunate to be able to share in this friendship and we were both honored to spend a couple of days at Doug and Donna’s home this past weekend. You just know you are going to have a great weekend, one promising the creation of memories, when all you care to do, with all the opportunities presented to you, is spend time together visiting. That is the weekend we had.
Saturday night we shared a great meal, then relaxed around a crackling fire. A nice glass of wine, discussing our travels, everyday happenings, and kids’ lives rounded out the evening. When I hear Donna talk about her daughters and grandsons and see the love and support that they both have for their kids, I wish I had not lost my parents so early in life and had the opportunities for these kinds of interactions.
Sunday was even better, with no one getting out of their “comfy” clothes all day long. Storytelling, the comfort found in moments of silence, and the joy for me of mowing their lawn (I know, sounds a little odd, doesn’t it) added to the day.
Honestly, after I realized where Terry and Doug disappeared to, I should have surrendered my hold on their new lawn mower, although I really do enjoy mowing grass. 50 years later, there they are still enjoying their toys, or more specifically, Doug’s new BMW Z4, just a tad pricier and a lot faster than the Zundap Bella motor scooters. What a beauty she is and the two “old guys” are aging pretty good as well!
At one point in the evening Donna looked at Terry, marveling at how close we had all become, and surmised that perhaps Terry’s journey of cancer treatment and recovery, undertaken at their home four years ago, was meant to result in drawing us closer together. She may indeed be right about that.
How do you thank someone for opening their home and their hearts to you, leaving their imprint along the way? Doug and Donna, two endearing souls, took care of us four years ago, and did the same once again this past weekend. What we have with them is truly a special bond, one that will sustain us throughout our lives.
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” ~ Albert Schweitzer