Thursday, March 15, 2012
You know when you meet someone and you instantly know that you're destined to be friends? That spark of connection between kindred spirits? What a great feeling! To know that someone else in this world "gets" you, and your quirky sense of humor. When you're sitting on the tailgate, eating ice cream cones and telling life stories a few days after meeting, you can't deny the bond that is already formed.
I've been lucky to have a number of friendships that started this way. But even better, I've had old friendships renewed this way. I've always taken friendship (and fun) seriously. But some of those friendships fade over time. We grow up, move away, get married (or not), have kids (or not), careers, houses, illnesses, divorces, heart break. Sometimes, someone or something else is responsible for the interruption in your friendship. Life just happens. A week without talking turns into a month, then a few months... and pretty soon it's been years.
I know I was better prepared than most for losing my best friend, Rochelle. I had 20 years to get used to the idea that I would outlive her. That didn't make it easier, but it did mean that I never, ever, not even once took our friendship for granted. Sure, it helped that we were kindred spirits, so we got along like peanut butter and chocolate. And whenever musketeer #3, Shauna was around, it was more like peanut butter, chocolate, and bananas. I'm not saying Shauna is bananas... oh who am I kidding? That girl is hilarious and funny as only slipping on banana peels can be. (Love you girl!)
I've come to realize that Rochelle left behind some really interesting gifts for me. One of the most remarkable to me is one that keeps appearing when I least expect it. That is the gift of rekindling friendships with those who I have considered kindred spirits. Or, as I might call them, re-kindred spirits! The chance to reconnect after a 2, 5, 15, or 20 year lapse in regular communication. I'm not just talking about catching up on the facts and statistics of our lives, but really reconnecting. Confirming once again, that the spirit is stronger than time and distance. That love, friendship and trust can survive and blossom again. Within minutes of seeing my twin best friends, Kendra and Roxann from 8th grade (after more than 20 years had passed), we were once again sharing stories that are reserved for those closest to our hearts - the ones that are bittersweet or painful. That's the beautiful thing about re-kindred spirits - you already know you can trust them to protect your heart!
In the 3+ years that have passed since Rochelle died, I have lost count of the friends who I've reconnected with. I'm sure she's sending them my way, and I'm grateful for that. She's that sort of friend, even in heaven. It's nice to know she still watches out for me, and sends me old friends to remind me that friendships do last lifetimes.
And I'm also finding that there really is more room in my once-broken heart. Room for new friends, old friends and especially re-kindred spirit friends.