I don’t remember exactly when the deepest friendship I have known began its time. We met when we started the sixth grade together. She had moved to Claverack from the nearby town of Hudson, and I had come from more miles away than was in the consciousness of my classmates, so safe and secure in their lovely Hudson River town. She and I drifted through the next couple of years, casually befriending each other within the confines of the social structure that was in place, and that I was clearly on the outside of. It wasn’t until we started high school that we came toward each other on a deeper level.
Each of us was drawn to the deeper meaning of life, and we found ourselves in lengthy discussions, igniting and reflecting the fires of self-discovery. Her forté was music; her voice was incredible, clear, light-filled tones of strength and knowing. All I could do when she sang was sit and listen in amazement. Unless she was singing a song for me, in which case my eyes filled with tears as my heart soared. My forté was the written word; I began to flourish in my silent communication as she learned to sing to greater and greater heights.
We were not constant companions as friends usually are at that age. We each had other friends with whom we spent our hanging out time. Mine was a group of misfits; none of us fit in anywhere else, so we fit in with each other. She lived quite a few winding rural miles away from me and had friends nearer to her house. We shared our time together during school and on the phone. There was something that had gone on between our parents, her father and my mother both taught at the same school, and though we never knew what it was, we certainly felt the uncomfortable distance that they kept. Unfortunately is spilled over on to us, and we oftentimes would greet each other in the morning at school and exchange long letters that we had written the night before.
We were safe for each other and we gave each other a place to explore our own psyches, and each other’s. Coming from completely different backgrounds and living such completely different lives gave us both curiosities about what we didn’t know. We reached across the differences, and the parental obstacles, and found the connection between us. We found that we were able to open ourselves with complete trust and without judgment. This is something that I had certainly not known in my life, and I relished the unconditional support of her friendship.
Over the years, our friendship has never wavered. When life moved forward and distance separated us, we continued with long letters that flowed between us weekly, sometimes daily. The letters were glorious explorations of self discovery. Her sharing, her love and trust in me kept me going through the transition of finding myself. She became my touchstone, the one constant in my life.
As different as our life paths became, she and I have always been there for each other and have always allowed each other to grow and change. Throughout the years, we have always been in close contact, sometimes on quite the psychic level. I feel her to be another part of me and I don’t always have to hear her voice to hear her heart. When she was newly married and starting her family, and I was hitchhiking the Trans-Canada Highway, I felt that I could be out there having adventures partly because she was safe and grounded in her life. Like a kite in the air, I was able to be free because she held the end of the string and kept me from completely losing myself. She has been the stalwart one, and I am the one with the continuously unfolding saga, not always in the happiest of ways. Over the years, I have come to see how we have balanced each other. I can be strong when she is not, and she has been my anchor.
By the time I was raising my son in California, her children had grown and she was investing more time in herself and her travels. As I learned the ways of mothering a young child, she was in Upstate New York learning to let her children go. I had been drawn to the Eastern traditions for my spiritual path and she followed the path of Christianity, expressing her spirit through music. While I honored her approach, it clearly was not mine.
In the spring of 1988, I became very concerned for my dear friend. I found none of the hope that she usually conveyed in her letters, and I was having trouble connecting with her on the energetic level. When I thought of her, I felt that something was off-balance and dark. We were both experiencing the breakdown of our marriages, and after receiving one particularly sad letter from her, I became concerned for her and spent quite a bit of my meditation time that evening sending her the highest of thoughts for her personal healing. Even in my spiral of loneliness and the constant struggle to keep things positive in my life, I knew that she was in need of some strength that I could give to her, if I could just find the way to do it. Each night for a week or so, I would pray the same prayer for her wellbeing and ask for a way for me to help her.
And then, I dreamed …..I dreamed a dream that had great significance for both of us. It wasn’t only a dream, it was a vision that I needed to share with her. It was a clear message that we each were on our true paths and that we just needed to keep moving forward.
I wrote it all out, but before I was able to get it in the mail, I had already made flight reservations Kyle and me to go and see her. Although the letter writing had been remarkably consistent between us, somehow the years had slipped past and this was the first time in fourteen years that we would see each other. My week-long stay was a joy of re-connection for our being together day-to-day and, as we watched over the not yet two-year old Kyle, we re-connected with ourselves as we re-connected with each other. It was the first time of happiness and peace either of us had felt in a long time. When I left, we stood at the window of the airport, saying nothing to each other. What we were saying needed no words. The depth of our feelings and of our connection was the universe itself and each of us traveled to our futures with the knowledge that we were strong, loved, and blessed.