25 August 2010

"Friends for the Journey"

It’s almost midnight and I got home an hour ago from another of my Tuesdays with Tammy. What a gift it is to have accountability partners, siblings in Christ, kingdom companions and other friends for the journey, to use L’Engle and Shaw’s phrase (and book title). Thinking of “Friends for the Journey” reminds me of Sue Bethune, my kindred spirit in St. Catharines, who first introduced me to Madeleine and Luci, co-authors and lovers of literature. On this note, my writing partner, EGM, has filled corners of my soul I never knew were empty.

My circle has been abundantly blessed by newcomers and old, alike (and I like them a lot). Most recently I have met a wondrous trio in Ontario: BG, JK and EB (more about each of them later; I suspect they’ll become old and dear friends; already I feel as if we’ve known one another for years...although we’ve yet to meet in person). [Inserted later: I am about to meet yet another member of this Ontario kinship circle: sweet Bee, my penpal, who will write to me faithfully and then fly out west to meet in person in late Oct/Nov.]

Twelve years ago I met Tammy and her Little family (Mom & Dad Little; hubby, Bernard; siblings Terry & Jenn, and Tony & Sylvia); a bit later I befriended my trio of Calgary sisters (all from SA): Eleanor (whose hubby unexpectedly brought us home from church one Sunday), Judy (who walked through the same DCC church doors we entered and never left) and Claire (a former neighbour and friend-near-and-far, who officially adopted me in March this year).

I am inspired by two Annemaries: one whose generosity of spirit touched me on our OCC trip to Mexico many years ago, and the other who graciously opens her BC home to us each year; both have taught me what true heart-hospitality looks like. Speaking of which, two coffee companions come to mind: Warren Harbeck (and lovely Mary Anna, whose birthday is tomorrow), and, born on the same day as WH, Phil Minnaar (who is currently recovering not only from cancer surgery but also from several cardiac arrests: Godspeed, friend and brother).

At seminary I was privileged to study and spend quality time first with Kim, and then Shari and Lori, and later with Ellen and Mel and Kris, women who crept into my heart and stayed; and my colleagues Kathy and Kathleen (among other sweet ladies: Barbara, Susan, Sabine, Sherri, Diana, Corinne, Marion...) make working on the hill each week a joy. My lovely Lynne-Twin works there, too (we’re born in the same month and year and apparently sound similar), while my other SA “sussie” and gym partner, WB, gets to see me first thing in the morning, (long) before I’m my cheery self. And yet she returns, week after week.

My fabulous “Guy’s Girls” (Barb, Chris and Rhonda) have recommitted to getting together once a month to grow (old) together and share life. All these precious partners enrich my life in Canada in different ways, spiritually and socially.

My oldest (pre-Canada) friendships include Bronwyn in Botswana, Bridget in Australia, Heidi in Chicago, and Meg and Moira and Leoni and Stasha in South Africa.

Several others come to mind: JD, my “goodie” of a friend and RJR across the Pond and CW in BC and MR in CA and RL and BH closer to home, and fellow teaching-preaching tea-drinking pie-baking left-handed kindred PJ, to mention a few of my men-friends...but it’s now past Pumpkin Hour and I’m heading to bed. This was merely a reminder to myself to be thankful for all my friends for the journey, even (or especially) when the road seems long....

The longer I sit here, the more faces I see! Just this week I heard from a school friend I’d been close to years ago...and now we’re back in touch. Write to me if your name belongs here as a “friend for the journey” and I’ll gladly insert it. :)

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