Friday, May 20, 2022

Friends

 I have a friend, an old friend. We met on the first day of seventh grade when we were both lost and looking for the same classroom in the huge (well, it seemed like it at the time) highschool. 

We have been through a lot together, but we have drifted apart. One of the big divisions, to be honest, is her religious convictions. Even when I believed, my faith took a far different path than hers. I don't debate faith. To each their own and I'm fine with it, but she kept trying to pin me down on various points of faith, things that she felt were unarguable points. 

Like, you must believe that Jesus Christ is the only way. 

I didn't. 

She got quite emotional and told me then that my beliefs made her see me differently and that there were things that she could not discuss with me. Broke my heart to hear it, really, because I really felt that if she would stop discussing those things, we'd be fine, and we had plenty of other things that we did agree on. 

The presidency of he who shall not be named drove an even deeper wedge. There were plenty of things that she didn't believe in that her president was fighting against. 

So here we are. I think about her a lot, and I miss her a lot, but now I am turning 65 in a couple days and I have no faith at all. I could use a friend, but I know that she would be appalled. 

I tell this old, old story because I know a batch of elders. They all are approaching 80 and they are childhood friends. Their roots go way back to a small town that no longer even exists. 

They are as diverse a group as you'd ever want to meet. Two of them are tenants in two different houses on the bank of the river, and the third one is upriver just a little. The three women are the key members. There is a couple of ex-husbands thrown into the mix. They garden. They kayak, They migrate from deck to deck in the summer, to watch the river go by and to talk and laugh together on their comfortable back decks. 

I envy them, really. Sometimes walking past their homes, I'll hear laughter from out back, and I'll go to the gate and call 'Halloooooooo the house!' and they'll invite me back and my voice joins theirs for a while. When I leave, they always say, "We need to do this more often."

What I like about this group the most is that they know each other, really know each other.  They know that one of them is impractical, but they love her anyway. One of them follows no faith. One has (like me) recently fallen away from her church. Two are readers. One is vegan. One wants to catch one of the bass that lives under an old log 'snag' outside her back door. Their differences go on and on. 

If you throw ex-husbands in the mix, well,..they acknowledge their flaws too. The one with a temper. The needy one who left to travel, telling his wife that she was not invited. He's back now. He got tired of traveling. By the time he had decided that, she'd decided that she really liked living alone. Despite all the baggage, those ex's are still part of the circle too. 

I envy them, really. Their roots bind them together. As much as they have in common, they are all remarkably different, but the differences are acknowledged and accepted with grace. 

It's a rare thing in these days. 

I think of my own old friend, and feel sad. 


33 comments:

  1. Religion is very divisive. New atheists tend to lose old friends.

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    1. I have been thinking about that comment a lot. I suppose so. I think really, any big life change causes you to lose some old friends.

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  2. My best friends are always people who disagree (respectfully) with my views on things from time to time. If they always agreed with me, they would feel more like a groupie or that I was in a cult and I don't want either of those things.

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    1. I guess that is the thing right there. She kind of seems as if she's bent on fixing me, proving her case,

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  3. That is sad, Debby. We have a small circle of friends - we are five couples so ten of us in total - and each of us is different with sometimes opposing views. But, we all like each other, debate our views, argue a little, yet still get along just fine. I think that is what friendship is about.

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  4. I use to go to church every week but now I rarely go. I hope you get your faith back Debby.

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    1. But it sounds as if you still have your faith. I've always wanted to know how that happened.

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  5. Well, it takes two to make a friendship, and it sounds to me like your old friend couldn't make room in her life for your beliefs. Sometimes these things happen. I found two of my childhood friends (sisters) on Facebook and friended them, and then found that they are RABID pro-Trumpers! We're still FB friends, but we don't really communicate much!

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  6. I suppose you have to ask why does religion make people so narrow-minded and I am not sure of the answer. But your trio of old friends have overcome the obstacle of making judgements. It seems America is going through a crisis at the moment from what I have read.

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    1. Not all religions do though. My religion did not. I guess my question would become "What draws people to the simplistic, literal interpretations of the Bible?"

      America is going through a crisis. We have to decide whether we are truly a country who believes in liberty and justice for all, or for just a chosen few.

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  7. I have an old friend like that. We were friends since we were fourteen years old and told each other everything. One day she decided I was too "angry" which was ironic because I thought she was pretty angry too but I accepted it. When I look back she had a long history of cutting people out of her life and I was just the latest in a long line. I miss her still because we had history and I get what you mean. I could say to her, "Remember when we..." and she knew. I miss that the most. I loved her like a sister.

    Those elders that you mention, that small community, that sounds lovely and sounds like what we all want, not just when we're old but all our lives, people who accept us as we are.

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    1. It is lovely, Pixie. They are a lovely group of people.

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  8. I'll be your friend, Debby. (I like to think I already am) Though we have a lot in common, I also know there are things on which we can't agree. However, I'm always willing to "agree to disagree" and leave it at that. -Kelly

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    1. We have been friends for an awfully long time. I started blogging in 2008. I am not sure exactly when you jumped on board the crazy train, but I'd say you count as an old friend too. :)

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  9. Let her go, fill that spot with some one who makes sense. She has voluntarily gone mad, You do not need that in your days. There are so many folks on this planet - make a new history. I have had friends from the olden days who leapt into the insanity of trumpism and conspiracy- I do not waste time on them . I can not afford it.

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    1. That is the practical way. You are correct that trying to maintain a friendship with someone who sees life so very differently is only going to frustrate both of us.

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  10. It is sad when good friends turn like that. Or decide that their life going on doesn't include you...and don't always tell you why...that hurts.
    But you don't need that in your life. We have friends who are politically opposite to us on many points..but both sides accept that and talk about plenty of other things

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    1. You are right of course. I just miss the comfort of talking with an old friend.

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  11. I've been on both ends of that stick. Hurt because a friend chose not to be a friend anymore because of an activity I chose to partake in, and that was a shock to me -- I guess we weren't ever really friends then, were we? if you can't take me as I am when I'm not hurting you or anyone else -- was my attitude. And on the other end, I was the friend who cut someone out of my life without explanation, suddenly, in order to protect myself from her attitudes when I had no more energy to hash things out with her. I still feel rather bad about that one, wishing I'd had what it took to handle it better, and I still care about her and miss her. But sometimes there is no going back and sometimes it's best to let things go. Even friendships, even people. It goes against my grain so has been a hard lesson. -Kate

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    1. I've been thinking a lot about this today. Really, Blondi, I find myself wondering if I'm the one doing the 'cutting off'. It's not that I don't accept her for who she is. It's more like I just know the subject will come up again, and I don't want to debate it.

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  12. I unerstand this. I have a friend that I have known since we were both 5. Now she is 90 and I am coming up to 90 in October. But we have absolutel y nothingin common. I went to University later in life. I have moved around the countr,y she still live snext door to wher eshe was born, We no longer have anything in common. I feel veery sad - we speak once a month but I have difficulty in findingnything to sy and I suspect she feels the same.

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    1. It's nice to read that I'm not the only one who feels this loss.

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  13. I'm envious too....I left my old friends behind when we moved to the Midwest and my new ones are taking care of their husbands or have dementia and don't know me anymore

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    1. Oh, that's sad, Bettina. My grandmother said the worst part of getting old was that she had fewer friends every year.

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  14. I feel for you Debby. It is hard when the judgement that comes from certain brands of "faith" deviates relationships.

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    1. It's just something that has been on my mind. Probably because I'm about to get older, and I always thought that she would be there too. *gives myself a mental shake*

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  15. Mine is the right way. Yours is the wrong way. And so wars start. Given it was a bad outcome, I wonder if it might have been better had you stood up to her and asked that she not tell you how and what to think.

    We are not quite friendless but well on the way.

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    1. She knows that I disagree. I've never been silent on it. She knows.

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  16. You certainly hit on some very accurate ways to break a friendship. Yes we need to be accepting of differences. When I retired , I accidentally got involved with some very supportive groups. The ice skaters were a great group. I volunteered for front of house at the local theater. You do have it right so I'm sure friends will happen.

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  17. I have friends. It's just been on my mind lately because we had been good friends for many years. Her life led her in a different direction than my life led me.

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  18. How boring if everyone thought the same way. I am always amazed at the devout who show no compassion. If there was a god he'd be rolling in his grave.

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