Play It Again, Elaine!

Play It Again, Elaine!

I once had a friend. Her name was Kay. She and I walked our dogs every day together, sometimes twice a day. We talked on the phone a couple times a day. We helped each other through the most try times of our lives. I thought I would never know another person I could trust more than I could trust Kathy. I gave her my heart and soul.

I once had a friend named John Paul. He and I shared birthdays. We found out that our birthdays were the same day when as roommates in college we began to get birthday cards in the mail at the same time. That was the beginning of the college school year. By the end of the year we were inseparable. Everyone thought we were lovers. Our hearts were connected like best friends are supposed to be. We even moved to New York together.

I once had a friend name Karly. We had more up than downs. The ups were always fun and great. But the downs were tragic. She was more broken than a friendship can take sometimes. We lasted twenty some years despite the hard parts.

I once had a friend named Keith. He was the brother I never had. He came into my life when I needed a straight friend and a strong alliance to help me through some of the hardest mental times of my life. Just so happens, he was studying Mental Health in college. We learned together to be strong.

I once had a friend named Lori. She is my sister. We were born to be inseparable. We are a year and a half a part in age and have never had one fight in our entire lives. She respects me. I respect her. Once we went to Great Adventure Park in Orlando together when we were 40 and 41 years old. We acted like the little kids we never were able to be growing up, running from coaster to coaster and screaming down the big hills.

I once had a friend named Jodi. We became born again Christians together. We were singer/dancer/actors and lived in NYC and did everything together. I couldn’t imagine a life without having her by my side. About ten years ago I got a phone call that Jodi had had a baby girl. I didn’t even know she was pregnant.

How do friendships get so distant? How do people you bond with on the deepest level, sometimes even deeper than our partners, husbands, and wives, stray so far in time and place that we can’t even remember why we lost touch?

Over the years my heart has been broken by friendships more than by intimate relationships. Friendships you don’t suppose will end, seem to fade like a photograph burning in a fireplace. They have no reason to curl at the ends and take to the flame, but they do. Friendships are not ordinarily going to have babies together, have financial difficulties together or live together. They don’t carry the burden of our intimate relationships, yet time passes and what turned to ashes is now blowing away in the wind, or worse yet being swept up by a vacuum.

Should we be distressed about this loss? Should we look at our lives and mourn the demise of friendships that no longer are present in our lives? Or should we rejoice that we have had the opportunity to spend quality, loving time with many, wonderful, different people at different crossroads in our lives? Would the old friends even fit into the new templates or paradigms of our present lives? I don’t even know.

But I do know that I pass an old friend’s house almost daily. Every time I do,  I quietly mourn the loss of a good friend. I can’t explain the passing. There is no contact. Just a hole where once love was.

Friendships are supposed to be alliances. They are bonds that, to me, should last the test of time. I could go through the list of the friends at the top of this blog and tell you that time has brought back several of old friends back into my life. They are different now. We are different now, changed—and that is good. And some of the list is hard to conceive I could ever even talk to again. It’s as if their chapter is over.

But the clarity is in the overview: It took 18 years, a divorce from a controlling wife, and Facebook to regain one friendship in the list. It took facing my fear of rejection and tracking down one friend in Georgia. Couldn’t something happen in the future to change the relationships not reconciled? Is our life course over yet?

I think not. When you look at life from the perspective of one looking down on your entire life, you see something completely different than you do when you are feeling the moment.

This is why we meditate. This is why we train our minds to separate from our ephemeral bodies to get a glimpse of what Spirit sees from a distance. All of our lives are coalescing—Straight and gay, Republican and Democrat, addicts and movie stars.

Even as you read this, friends who have gone astray from you are experiencing lessons in their lives that may or may not bring their paths merging with yours in the future.

Instead of writing people off, let’s just imagine that there just isn’t an end to the story yet.

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