my birthday month tends to be a time of remembrance and gratefulness for the friends in my life, close, far, cherished or neglected, people that taught me to be a friend to myself, people I bonded with through heart-sparks that left indelible marks. My friends are soul companions that became part of my journey, they form a flowing web of connections I’m held in.
So far it’s been a social month. Having reconnected with two primary school friends from Germany a few years ago during a reunion, they sprang a surprise visit (their first to England.) We had a lovely meal in an excellent pub, with my son joining us. I toured the girls through the woods of a nearby sculpture park, through my town, and, of course, through London. We started with a riverboat journey (my first) under London’s time-honoured bridges, got lost in Covent Garden, which eventuated finding a café that served Black Forrest cake, which delighted Lieselotte, and surfaced at Trafalgar Square.
From there we wove our way through St James Park and ended up at Buckingham Palace.
The girls had a great time, and good laughs, especially when, embarrassingly, I fell into talking German with Londoners, attracting the occasional blank stare of incomprehension.
What struck me was how ‘in essence’ we had not changed since we were children. Intrinsic qualities stay with us throughout life, shine through our energy field, temperament, movement, voice, characteristics and life-interest. The qualities my friends nourished in me as a child, I still value today, the unconditional kind heart of Gaby, and Lieselotte’s ability to assess situations quickly and get things done. I saw that they also nourish these qualities in each other. Sadly they had to return home and miss my party last weekend.
The Party… lovely sunshine, guest coming and going. An unknown sponsor even ordered a birthday balloon to sail above my garden 🙂 My good-weather-wish came true. Some of us kept a circle outside until midnight among sparkling lights. The occasional apple dropped.
My favourite deckchair folded under more weight than my own. Glasses clinked. There was silliness, acknowledgements, revelations.
Seen through the eyes of our friends’ imagination, do the lissome fleeting shadows flitting through our personal frames influence us, each other? I wonder, but guess they do.
As the years crawl along, heart-spark moments never dwindle. Stories are transformed and woven into a new context. Life stations glide by and return as in a spiralling carrousel.
Even friends not present were with us in spirit, remembered, since, like Kahlil Gibran put it … for that which you love most in (a friend) may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
From The Prophet …
And the youth said, Speak to us of Friendship, and he answered, saying:
Your friend is your need answered. He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving. And he is your board and fireside. You come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.
When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the ‘nay’ in your own mind, nor do you withhold the ‘aye.’ And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart; for without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not; for that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit. For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.
And let your best be for your friend. If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also. For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill? Seek him always with hours to live. For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.