Birds of a Feather

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Do you still have friends from high school? Junior high school? Elementary school? Are there birds of a feather that still flock together? Recently I was at a funeral for a friend’s father. I had known this friend for decades and had spent some time with her and her dad when she was in last month to say her goodbyes. At the funeral, I had arranged to meet another friend who I have known since Grade 1. I was not in the same class as her but we met on the playground and we have stayed in touch ever since. How blessed are we that our lives remain intertwined!

Last month, when my friend was in town to see her dad, a few of us who had also known each other since elementary school managed to meet up for a last minute meeting. Next week, some of us from junior high will reunite for our annual get together as one of the guys we went to school with returns home. He was the valedictorian of our graduating class. We usually do some fun walk down memory lane. These are the people who helped shape me. The relationships formed were the first forage into vulnerability and loyalty. I, like the butterfly I wrote about yesterday, found a safe place to land in these early friendships.

I was an excruciatingly shy child, with a speech impediment that sparked some bullying, but amongst the girls who I still see, I discovered that I was likeable and a good friend. All these years later, I still find them to be some of the most caring and compassionate people I know. They have grown into fine folks. Many of us have had our crosses to bear–marriage struggles, deaths of loved ones, illnesses, mental illness–and yet we are for the most part, still standing. In fact, we are strong and faith-filled people. The years have revealed our childhood demons that were top secret when we were young. We have wrestled with the things that happened; the road has not always been easy for all of us. We can speak more freely of the issues now than when we were in high school where the weight of them might have crushed us.

Secrets at some point need to be told though for healing to happen. Today I went for a pedicure and the woman who owns the shop and I on occasion fall into deep conversation. Today was one of those days. We ended up talking about our health. She was one of the honest people who said to me about a month after my surgery that I did not look great. She asked what was wrong. She could see in my eyes that the spark had dimmed and discomfort was wreaking havoc for me. As soon as she saw me this afternoon, she asked how I was. My response was so much better than the last time you saw me! She began to share her story of chronic pain and the decision she made to fight back. I think often the Evil One lurks around looking for a crack to get into a soul and destroy it. Chronic pain is one of these ways. We shared our stories and I marveled at how this shy little girl has grown into a woman who can share in a vulnerable manner. I told her my butterfly story and she blessed me, saying that God would transform me and that I in turn, would transform others by telling my story.

God has transformed not only that flock I found in my early years but also that girl who was afraid to talk to people. She soars to heights unimaginable now. I am ever so grateful and blessed by the friends who created a safe place for me and taught me how to be someone who was more than I thought possible. Their presence in my life continues to inspire and encourage me.

Peace,

Suzanne

Reflection Questions

Do you have friendships that span decades? What friend in particular are you grateful for and why?
How have your relationships transformed you?

Prayer

You, O Lord, model friendship
You teach us how to love
with hearts wide open
souls celebrating
You-disguised-in-us
You plant seeds
that last a lifetime,
that heal and bless
that free us from bonds
You, O Lord,
create relationships
that spark a
Divine plan
for which we are ever grateful.

Amen.

About sstyves

A Canadian prairie girl rooted in Ignatian spirituality, I seek God in all things. Whether I catch a glimpse of the Divine and delight in its presence in nature or in the beauty of an encounter with someone, I am ever so grateful that I can recognize the Creator. I greet each new day with hope and happiness, expecting blessings and miracles because I am created to praise, love and serve God. This blog is one way of realizing that through my writings, prayers, and photography. To God be the Glory!
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4 Responses to Birds of a Feather

  1. Wow! What a gift of insight and wisdom you have – again!! Life experiences shape us for sure, and especially, those in our tender formative years. It is a privilege that I can call you my friend for almost 50 years! Thank-you for being a part of my life and helping to shape me. I am glad that God crossed our paths. Despite trudging through your recent health scare encounter, your talent for inspiring people through words continued. You have a gift to take many ordinary situations and inspire one to look at them with a different lens. I am always grateful for this! You handled your illness with amazing grace, and you had me and I am sure others examining the handling of challenges in our own lives. Despite your struggles, your faith remained strong! You are a quality person and God spent extra time creating you which was well worth the effort! You are a kind, caring, devoted and thoughtful individual, and I thank-you for all that you are! God bless you!! Peace, Jo-Ann

    • sstyves says:

      Thanks, Jo-Ann! We’ve been blessed beyond measure and I’m grateful for your affirmation and the positive way you take on life’s challenges yourself. You have a compassionate nature that is a joy to be around. Blessings to you.

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