Voice and Vision

One Woman's WORDS AND WORKS •grapple •inspire •liberate

126: Life Savers

When I was a little girl in Baltimore, after church we’d walk to a nearby shop where my parents picked up a Sunday newspaper and my brother and I were each allowed to get a small candy that I loved as much for its colors as taste, known as Life Savers–a little delight we enjoyed on the long drive home.

There are other lifesavers of much greater import. They come in the package called friends. Often as varied and colorful as the candies, these human lifesavers keep us buoyant when we might otherwise drown in life’s current.

This past week I had occasion to get phone calls from two dear friends just when I needed them. I didn’t need to flop into despair and share the depression I was feeling. No, with good friends that isn’t necessary. They just know. As if by osmosis. You might live hundreds of miles away, you might not have spoken for many months, nor even caught up in emails lately. It doesn’t matter. A good friend is a good friend and she is always there to lift you up. Not in a phony way. Not with platitudes or an unexpected Teleflora bouquet. Friends just know when they are needed.

My two were very much needed. Concerns about avenues for selling my prolific art were troubling. So were news events, a failed appliance, several annoying physical conditions, etc. My husband was out of town for several days and I was alone with only our “anxious dog” for company.

We’ve not really made friends since moving to Maine. Yes, a few acquaintances, but not real friends in the deep way I am used to having friends. You know, the sort of friends you can say anything to and they to you. The kind who understand your past and can enlighten your future, and you the same for them. The kind who no matter how busy they are with their own lives, they have time for you. Time to listen. Time to truly add their significant two cents or million-dollar wisdom.

These sorts of friends do not pop up overnight. They grow from experiences and values you’ve shared over months, years, or decades. They come from problems either of you have faced and conquered, often hand-in-hand. Often, for me, my friends are rooted in common spiritual beliefs–even if our religious labels happen to be different. There is a ground on which we walk that is solid, steady, safe. We walk it together even when far apart.

These friendships are blessings. You don’t need dozens of them.  Nor does age matter. Three of my friends are different ages by decades but they all have a depth I love. Two or three friends is plenty if they are grounded, genuine, honest. I am grateful for the few I have.

Artwork: The Contemplator, pastel, 15" x 20" sold.

Artwork: The Contemplator, pastel, 15″ x 20″ sold.

Artwork: The Contemplator, pastel, 15″ x 20″ sold.

We all need time to contemplate where we are, who we are, why we are, and how to solve or settle our problems. When friends call and inspire, our contemplation lifts upward. The model in this pastel, with hair down to her toes, was a luminous professional and a good friend who can be found in many of my paintings.  When going through a hard time, she lived with me and my husband for several months.

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