I remember when an elderly family member tried to explain to me what it was like looking back on her life. She said it was like remembering a play with a few different acts. It all seemed closer together for her at the end of her life, shorter than it actually was. She was as much a little girl as she was an old lady on that day. I wondered if that was all part of the perspective we have on life. Something that seemed a most important piece may end up merely a notch on the wall of life, a stepping stone to another chapter.
The hotel I was staying at had a piano player for cocktail hour. He played much the same repertoire that my father used to play. We chatted for a while and he played a few of my favourite songs. I used to wonder, before my father died and through the years, what it would be like for me to hear that music played when he was gone. I was not prepared for the emotional impact it had.
The risk we take in getting to know people is that we may become invested in their lives; we may feel their pain and feel their joys as life progresses. I was glad to be in the company of friends this week as I find my footing in a world without my father.
In our friends we see a reflection of ourselves and the better the friendship the clearer the reflection. Even though our friends may not end up playing a huge part in every chapter of our lives, they are none the less there, because we share our stories and through them they know us and we know them.
As I made my way home I thought about the chapters of my own life. How at this time in my life I’m still younger than the person I came to know as my father. I wondered about the future chapters and how they might read. I wondered about my friends and their chapters yet to unfold.
In friendship, we don’t stay because we made a deal to stay, we don’t stay because we’re supposed to, we stay because we want to, and we stay because we have love reserved for them. Friends both expand our worlds and make them cozy and comfortable.
When the world seems all too impersonal, take some time to reflect with a friend and maybe even spend some time with your inner little person, the one who saw the world through starry eyes and an open heart, the one who thought nothing of holding hands and skipping down the road with a friend. The one who lived like every chapter was a lifetime and every character was cherished.