Forever and a Day
I have a lifelong friend who will soon be living a good distance away from me. When I started to feel sad about it the words of another friend came to mind, “Nothing lasts forever.” I believe it was said in an effort to comfort, but it felt heartbreaking. The older we get the more intensely aware we are that change is the very definition of life, so in this way, “Nothing lasts forever.” Yet when I actually reminisce about my friendships, so many occasions come to mind when someone’s presence in my life made a timeless change in me.
My girl who is moving changed the way I saw myself in the world. She modeled a vision of authenticity which, before meeting her, I wasn’t aware I needed to learn. A different friend from childhood laughed with me instead of at me when I felt ashamed. That friendship informed the kind of Mother I became, one who could yield grace in the place of rigidity. Another one replaced my fear of the way I process information with a hopeful dignity in who I was made to be. One bestowed me with courage when I was full of uncertainty. One testified before me, by her daily actions, how to keep going when I felt the odds were all against me. One always answered my questions, even if he knew I wouldn’t like the answers, which augmented my ability to live in integrity. One kept me company when I was feeling lonely, and one extended me mercy instead of condemnation, which lined the cuts from the sharp edges of my life with softness.
These friends, relatives, co-workers and teachers did not necessarily set out to teach me. They gave me parts of themselves. They aren’t just memories for me, they are something like altars, a place I can look to in my soul that was stitched up, or sometimes expanded by their giving of themselves.
Practical entropy may confirm that nothing lasts forever in the physical realm, but the ineffable aspect of change we can graft into each other’s souls can be immortal. To my dear friend, who will be physically far from me, I will hold the fragile pieces of your soul that were stitched into mine with tenderness. As I do, I hope to pass them along to whomever comes into my life, and know that some effects not only last forever but multiply infinitely.