Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lifelong Friends


...my first life, 
the life I admire
and want to follow
looks on and listens
with some wonder, 
and even extends 
a reassuring hand 
for the one holding back,...

David Whyte, Excerpt "My Second LIfe" 

I am sharing a weekend with lifelong friends. These women are so uniquely individual and yet similar. I witness us moving through each day, in awe of their inner strength, their joy, their struggles, and their pure being.

Many years ago I graduated from high school and chose my college for the silliest of reasons. I wanted to be as far away as possible from home. It had to be place I'd never been and yet not so isolated that I was a total stranger. I chose the University of Tulsa and enrolled sight unseen in the fall of 1965.

My best friend, Douy, was going and her parents drove us both from Springfield, Illinois. I had my father's huge trunk from his WWII military service and several suitcases. We didn't have refrigerators or computers. But we did have clock radios, over sized hairdryers, and a forbidden hotplate.

We decided to arrive before classes actually began in order to experience "rush week." For those not familiar with sororities and fraternities, this is the time you parade through various sorority houses, attend parties and teas, and if you are lucky, you are chosen to join your favorite house.

As a first-generation college student, I was excited and terrified by this totally foreign experience. I immediately liked the girls at the Kappa Alpha Theta house. Who can explain these things? It's real. It's a connection, unique and strong. As it turned out the other girls who also chose Theta would become some of my lifelong friends.

I think it is quite remarkable that you can see someone after 15, 25, or 47 years and simply pick up your friendship where it was left. We haven't miss a beat, these amazing ladies and I. Our time together is filled with laughter and tears, memories and updates, surprises and familiar connections.

Truly, the gift of this weekend is how just being together in each other's presence nurtured and supported us perfectly in a way we each needed. I am forever grateful for the love, acceptance, and encouragement I received. I can only hope I was able to provide a bit of that for them.

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