I’ve been thinking about friendship lately. I have always considered myself inordinately LUCKY in my friends!
I was reminded of this by a recent visit from Barbara Vermeersch and her husband, Steve. Barbara and I taught next door to each other at Ramstein American High School in Germany. Like ex-pats of other nations, Americans serving overseas tend to create surrogate “families” within our insular communities. I treasure many of those relationships and still maintain many of them—though we are literally spread all over the U.S. now.
Barbara is the only person I know who still communicates with real, honest-to-goodness letters—USPS type LETTERS! So we have kept in touch, but I’ve seen her only once before in the intervening years. Within minutes—nay, seconds—we had reestablished that intimacy that is born of mutual trust, shared experiences, and shared (but not identical!) views of life in general. Mind you, this is not the first such experience I’ve had. It has happened before. I’m guessing that is one of the rewards of friendship: instant pick-up.
Robert Frost once said something to the effect that “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” He was talking about family, but I think the same sentiment applies to enduring friendships. The difference is that a sense of obligation drives family members—a moral judgment hangs over them—but your friends choose to accept the place you accord them in your life (and vice-versa).
Fate—or Chance—or God plops each of us into a given family with no regard to our—or their—druthers. But we get to choose our friends. In the best of all possible worlds, there is some (or a lot of) overlap, though, and you find yourself related to someone you would have chosen as a friend anyway.
As I say, I am inordinately LUCKY!!!