Friends of Christmas Past

I’m spending my holiday at my parents’ this year, which means that I have an extended vacation in my hometown.  I’m lucky enough to have remained close to several very old friends, despite all of us scattering across the country in our adult lives.  During my stay at “home,” I’ve visited with some of them, and others I’ve visited with online.  This Christmas, I’m going to remember three important lessons that I’ve learned from a few old friends. 

  1. I’ve known C* since we were in pre-school together.  We call her “Elfin,” because she’s adorably petite, kind, quirky and whip-smart.  But one of the things that I love most about C is the way that she puts things in perspective.  She is comfortable with almost anyone, and in turn makes others feel at ease around her.  She carries herself with a self-aware confidence, and though she has occasionally expressed frustration that she hasn’t found her “calling” yet, I really appreciate the way that she listens to her heart in life.  She knows that it’s not about the destination, but the journey, and she relaxes into that journey.  Being Type-A, anal-retentive, and high-anxiety, I’m so grateful to have such a calming influence in my life.  She teaches me to chill out and take my time–two things that I have a very difficult time doing!
  2. S* and I met in kindergarten, and we were softball teammates for roughly eight years by the time we’d graduated from high school.  Though we don’t frequently see each other, I do hear from her regularly online.  Recently, she wrote on my Facebook wall, indicating that she’d dreamt about me two nights in a row.  “Thanks for giving me some good advice,” she said.  I’m sure that I was just a place-holder; a substitute teacher; a voice; a conduit.  Our brains are tricky things, and sometimes they need tricky ways to convey important information.  But the point is clear (to me, anyway):  Listen to your dreams.  And I don’t mean “follow your dreams” in that cheesy, pie-in-the-sky kind of way.  I mean, literally, listen to yourself.  S’s subconscious was telling her something.  My guest-appearance in her dreams enabled her to hear a message; and whatever that message was, it sounds like she’s listening. 
  3. T* is one of those people who is so impressive that you brag about just knowing her.  Our parents were friends and co-workers, so they introduced us when we were babies, and we’ve remained friends.  She was an All-American gymnast at the University of Georgia in college, and got married this past spring.  T came over for breakfast this week, and I was reminded yet again of how strong she is.  (And I don’t only mean because she could crush me with her bare hands.)  T was diagnosed with breast cancer at 23 years old.  After a considerable battle with the disease, she is now cancer-free and absolutely loving life.  She is consistently upbeat, positive, healthy, and quick to laugh.  T teaches me the importance of appreciating every day that we have in this life; she reminds me never to take anything for granted; to be happy with all that you have.  And really—at this time of year, what could be more important than that? 

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