I hurried through my stack of tasks this morning to make a longed-for appointment with a dear friend. I had been given an opportunity to reconnect with a sister-of-the-heart that I had known since my teenage years as a wild, unruly hoyden. Heels tapping, I rushed across the parking lot in the chilly autumn air. I didn?t want to be late for this truly special meeting with my childhood friend.
I wasn?t quite sure what to expect, though it was impossible to believe that this particular woman could have become anything but more exquisite with the passage of time. Although radiant and lovely in her youth, it was her inner beauty?her extraordinary kind, playful, and gentle heart?that had claimed me so long ago. As I dashed into the quiet confines of the coffee shop, I scanned the tables for a sign of my beautiful friend. Our eyes met, and I instantly saw that her cerulean eyes were still true and clear. The years had brought a light etching of lines to her delightful countenance, yet they added to her delicate beauty. We hugged again and again; I pulled back slightly each time to search her face, to find a sense of her spirit, and she smiled in simple understanding. It was through her smile that I knew she remained the same in the most essential of ways; her heart was unspoiled and pure. Clasping her arms, I could barely let her go. She laughed softly?the very same shimmering laugh that had delighted me so long ago?as I hesitated to leave her side to order tea. Indeed, some part of me feared that she was a mirage I might not again find if I turned my back. As I turned with searching eyes, hibiscus tea in hand, my dear friend awaited me with her wide, charming smile.
The years melted instantly, and our hearts became one again. While we had once talked of boys, evading classes, and escapades to the beach, our conversation now melded into the paths our lives had taken since we last spoke. We were both amazed that our journeys had been so parallel?uniquely ours, yet startlingly similar. In some ways it was no surprise, for we realized that we had always had much in common underneath our external appearances. She, a lovely blue-eyed blonde with a sweet and ready laugh, and I, a dark-haired, almond-eyed bookish mischief-maker, had been quite a pair. As we shared snippets of our lives, the most personal details that only truly bonded childhood friends could offer after years of absence, I felt as though the woman before me had known me all along.
I was captivated by watching her expressions change as she recounted stories of her children, her work, and her life. How much I had missed. Many years had intervened, yet the essence of the young girl I had adored so completely remained the same. Through her own dance of life, she had grown into a fuller, more incredible version of the remarkable, fair-haired beauty I had admired so long ago. Two hours passed as though the sun had not moved but an inch in the sky. I wanted to hear more, to know more.
Work silently beckoned me, and I smiled as I reluctantly stood to go. She, too, had to return to her own busy life of motherhood and work. We had but scratched the surface of each other?s worlds. In silent understanding, we knew that we would share more of the old chapters of our lives as we adventured into the new. Embracing, we promised to meet for a hike, and I knew that not more than a few weeks would pass before I would again be charmed by her presence.
As I drove away, the now-warm autumn sun bathing me in its radiance, I felt as though part of me had come home. The part of my life that had been intertwined with this dear friend had come back to me. Another piece of the jigsaw puzzle of my life had again connected. Though I had always carried our friendship within my spirit, I now had the opportunity to bring our relationship to a new place. In this way, we could share the women we had become with each other?new pieces to fit into the lives we continue to create with each passing day.
Such gifts we are given every day. The opportunity to find pieces of ourselves in the world about us?pieces that we reclaim, pieces that we create anew, and pieces that we share as offerings from the heart.