Capturing the right words to express my pure love and gratitude for you…well it is much like trying to take hold of the sweet summer breeze that gently brushes my face. A daunting task as I cherish you beyond description.
Life can bring many storms upon my door. I find that you unselfishly provide me with a shelter of warmth, compassion, respect, safety and stability…when the clouds have gathered and the thunder roars.
Life can bring darkness, despair and a chill to my heart. Your love is my sunshine that chases away the bitter cold and brightens my soul.
Life can bring many challenges and obstacles. Difficult days yet with you I feel hope, encouragement and a precious peace. I look towards tomorrow and dare to dream with you by my side.
But not to forget, life can bring laughter, celebration and exquisite joy. This I have found with you. I absolutely could not imagine life any other way. I believe that I have known you forever and a day and I will love you every bit as long…or longer.
I have just spent a very nice three days with gals I love, tripping through wineries around Sandusky, Ohio. This is the 18th year of our annual excursion which has definitely evolved over time. This year I have determined that true friendship is like a fine wine. But before I go on, let me clarify what I mean by “fine.” I don’t pick my wine (or friends) by the monetary value- it is the character that I appreciate and find pleasing.
True friendship warms my heart and instills me with a sense of well-being. You know, like that comfortable warmth that fills you after a sip of your favorite wine. My moments shared with good friends can be light-hearted and sweet like a fruity strawberry wine. Times when laughter turns to tears and your belly aches and its hard to catch your breath. Enjoying the merriment of life. Yet times with true friends can also be a bit more complex, deep in spirit and a touch dry. These semisweet to dry moments provide me a companion with my thoughts (which tend to travel into deep thinking all too often). The Merlot moments when we explore the world together with our thoughts and beliefs. Or the full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon times- when we provide support and strength to another with hugs, a cry or even just a listen.
True friends and wine need to be accepted for who they are and not what you wish them to be. Some imperfections exist in the relationship but the overall experience is wonderful. So here I raise a glass and say “cheers” to my true friends, all individuals and unique. All with a different taste for life… yet all a rather fine wine indeed.
I have two friends that I miss dearly. They were very different from each other as their personalities and responsibilities dictated. But I loved them both deeply. One was a handsome blonde who lived with me for 12 years and the other a beautiful white haired giant that only shared my time for 5 years. But even though they came at different times in my life, they both gave me so much. Like they knew what I needed from them and provided such for me unselfishly.
Our Pal Eisenhower- affectionately called Ike was a gorgeous and rather lanky yellow lab. He joined us as a puppy and if you ever had a lab puppy you know what that means- books, tv remotes, shoes, socks and actually just about anything his teeth could dig into bore his mark and became his. Yet he grew up to be an absolutely wonderful pal. For years he shared my bed until he took up almost the whole queen mattress. I would actually hear him head upstairs to claim his space, silently slipping away before me. Somewhere along the road we came to an agreement and he began to sleep in his own bed next to mine. We have walked many miles through our home town and he was always a well behaved gentleman, content just to be with me. Ike was my house mate and while I was busy keeping myself busy with some remodeling or decorating, he would lie down nearby (usually on my drop cloths) and observe this crazy lady. We also had many conversations about life, kids, and learning to love yourself for who you are- to name a few. I think he agreed with me on every topic because he never stated differently. But as we both got older, life for Ike got harder too. I had to put Ike to sleep 3 years ago. I held him as his big eyes looked back at me and we both knew it was time for him to go. He was in pain and his days were not what they were meant to be. So I hugged him and thanked my friend for being just what he needed to be for me. He seemed to know I would be ok as I had met my future husband and I was very happy with my life. His job was done.
Leo- a lion of a guy, actually resembled a polar bear when he first came to our farm. He joined us as a great pyrenees puppy. Yet from early on, Leo was on duty. He came to protect our animals from coyotes and took his job seriously. He did not live in our home but in the barn. Leo had the run of the pastures and at night he roamed the fence lines. You could hear his roar to tell the creatures of the night that he was king. Such a gentle giant, Leo was filled with patience for children and he loved visitors and welcomed many. Leo never tried to leave the barn area…that would be irresponsible. Our conversations shared were of new babies as we watched them born ( and sometimes assisted), or the chickens ( those ladies were pesky), or maybe both of us just sitting on a hill in the pastures watching the others graze and enjoying the breeze. He would slowly roll over and ask for a belly rub. Just about the only thing he ever asked for. Leo became lame quickly and out of the blue this vibrant, beautiful boy could hardly walk. I knew what had to be done, but my work schedule was so crazy I could not take off time. I could not wait and asked my husband to call the vet. So I was not there to tell him thank you and hold him while the pain left and he drifted off. We said our goodbyes early that morning before I went to work. So fitting, he taught me that I had to take my job seriously.
I miss them both. They were so different yet gave me so much at just the right times in my life. And they both taught me to enjoy the present. Take time to relax and watch the world…and to love the wind in my face.
I believe true friendship and life are much like the beauty of the ocean waters. The first introduction may even be a little cool to the touch but after some time we find ourselves warming in its wake. We play in the waves of laughter and tears and eventually we may gulp the salty taste of disappointment and grief. But that does not deter true friends from swimming in this vast sea of emotion with each other. For all the days of trying to stay afloat during rough times, there are many more filled with blue skies and calm waters.
Today was a day filled with emotional pain and deep sorrow for a dear friend who buried her mother after a long illness. As I sat in the church with my friends to support her in this grief, I thought much of this pact of true friendship and the beauty of sharing our very difficult as well as good times with each other. People who are not related by blood, but connected by our hearts. So we band together and help her stay afloat …it is a rough time, and deep water below. She is strong. Someday she will find the calm water again. The kind that lulls her heart and steadies her breath believing that tomorrow will be better. I just so wanted her to believe this today.