I am blessed with old friends. We’ve been friends for forty years or more, since elementary and high school in Arizona. We get together every four or five years, and this summer we met in Ashland. We cooled off at the coast, reveled in the redwoods, experienced Shakespeare, grazed at the Rogue Valley Growers’ Market, and contemplated Crater Lake. But mostly we were just together, peacefully and exuberantly reconnecting and basking in our comfortable, deep friendship.
Our lives have included pain and suffering. One of us lost her husband to ALS two years ago. Another’s son died from suicide in 2008. We’ve all grieved parents’ deaths, some way too early. We have ailing brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers. We have had to learn how to “swim in the deep end” these last ten years, especially.
So it’s really important for us to choose to rest occasionally. As one friend put it, “I like to climb up on a lily pad and sit in the sun every now and then.” If we try to swim in the deep water too long, we drown. We require lily pad moments.
My friends and I made two commitments before we dispersed yesterday. We promised that if we all survived our husbands we would live together in the same nursing home. And we agreed to increase our reunion frequency to every two years. We treasure each other, and the water we swim in will continue to be deep. We need our lily pad moments of relaxed basking in the warmth of our love and shared history.