What have been the most important and valued friendships in you life?
This is tough! It’s like trying to limit myself to only one flavor of ice cream. All of them! They are all important and valued! But, I would have to say that the most influential friendships I’ve had are the ones that helped me become a better person, to stretch beyond myself.
As a child, I was soo shy. I wouldn’t even feel comfortable saying ‘hi’ to my friends. I spend a lot of time being embarrassed. My brother knew this and would purposely call out my friends’ names to make them look our direction, and I would be completely mortified! I can only imagine how it looked to my friends: Me totally embarrassed to see them. I’m grateful for those friends who continued to talk to and play with me when I was so awkward and weird.
I had a dear friend growing up, Linnaea, who was a free-spirit. She loved to be outside and play make-believe, usually fairy princesses or some other thing, like mermaids, or the like. If you know me, that is totally not my thing, it never has been, and never will be. I loved to be with my friend, but those imaginary games were torture to me. I always volunteered to be the bad guy, like Gollum, so I could be by myself and not have to pretend to be fairy and prance around. She seemed cool with that. We always had fun.
We did get into a lot of mischief together on other occasions. On time we pulled a bunch, actually more like a bushel or more, of vegetables from her mom’s garden thinking they were ready and presented them to her mom, so proud of our help at harvesting. I think I went home shortly after that. Another time we pulled out all the eggs her parents had collected from their flock of organic hens….hundreds of them. We sorted them, weighed them and organized them, then…we forgot to put them all back in the fridge. I’m sure she took a lot of heat for that one. And a few times we may have left our muddy shoes on in the house, forgot to close the gate to the chicken coop, or let the turkeys out, and maybe rearranged everything in her mom’s feng shui meditation room. Maybe.
Amazingly, she was a good friend who miraculously welcomed me back again and again, even after our costly deeds. Bless her dear parents. Linnaea passed away at age 11. I was 12. To say her friendship changed me would be an understatement. Losing a friend always changes you. If you let it, it can make you stretch yourself and become a better person, and this was the case. My friendship with Linnaea was one of the most important and valued friendships in my life.