Saturday, January 07, 2006

Everyday People

Blogroll Me!

"...He stepped into my life -- or perhaps I stepped into his -- even if briefly, and left a lasting impression on me."

My last post about Canadian poet Irving Layton featured this line. And after rereading it, I decided that I liked it -- a lot! It seems to encapsulate the people who move in and out of our lives.

When we're kids we just want to have fun -- we don't try too hard to make friends; usually they just happen. You go to the same school, you go to the same shul, you share extra-curricular activities, or you might even be relatives. But something clicks and you play together, and as you're older, you hang out together.

I was at shul today and saw a former friend and classmate of mine. We drifted apart many many years ago, so it's not uncomfortable to see and speak to her. Granted, we don't have too much in common anymore, no common denominator or point of reference that's current. I asked her if she and her husband are in touch with anyone from high school. She quickly responded with "Nope...I guess what we thought were true friends were really not."

I've been thinking about that comment and applying it to myself and my circle of friends. It's a beautiful thing if you have a lifelong friend or even friends who sees you from childhood through to adulthood and even seniorhood; it's probably even more beautiful because it can be somewhat rare.

Yes, I have one friend who I've known since I was five years old -- our first encounter was us sitting on her back steps and blowing soap bubbles together. That was almost forty years ago. She's my oldest friend, but I can't say she's my closest friend. More often than not, we did a "surface dance" around each other, just skimming the surface of friendship, but not getting in too deep with our true, heartfelt thoughts and emotions. And that's been okay, because it seems to be a mutual understanding of how this friendship has been meant to be.

Sometimes we are so close to people, think we have sooooo much in common for sooooo many years and then the link is broken. We might be peeved, we might be confused, we might feel guilty about this breach. But we must remember that yes, we did have good times with that friend...while it lasted. We did grow as people and perhaps helped each other grow as well.

Man/woman cannot really live alone. It's not a way to thrive as a person. So for that reason, people step in and out of our lives. Sometimes they step in at just the right moment when we need a kind of person like that around us. This is a form of "bashert," I guess. A destiny.

For some reason, we are destined to have our paths cross with one another at a particular time. Hopefully the reason turns out to be a good one. Friendships do not have to be formed; a minimal alliance might be all it is (eg. information from a librarian, a customer service representative, a teacher, a rabbi or even a dentists).

Perhaps some of my blogging buddies might feel the same. Our blogging paths have crossed for some reason or another. There are hundreds of blogs out there -- why do I choose to read yours? Why do you choose to read mine? Why do we sometimes write a note or two to each other offline?

I hope that, as I said in my opening lines, certain people leave lasting impressions on you as you step in and out, as you dance in and out, of each others' lives.

(and on a less serious note, here I have to add this: Jack & Stacey: nobody in blogville knows what your mysterious connection is, but no doubt, Jack, Stacey left some impression on you continually refer to her in your posts.)


cruisin-mom said...

wow, Pearl....I have contemplated this very subject so many times in my life, I can't tell you. I have had friends come in and go out, and I really believe as you say...friends are there for a particular reason, and that reason does not always last. That is the only way I can deal with and make sense out of the many losses and changes I have encountered throughout my life.

Genendy said...

Great post. I've also thought about this so many times; the connections we have with people, whether friends or strangers, whether it's for a lifetime or two minutes. Actually, the friends I think about even less, what really interests me is the strangers who I interact with, like the woman behind the counter in a store. In our little two minute interaction, it strikes that this is a complete stranger who I have a connection with now, and in a minute, I'll be out of here, and probably never think about or see her again.

wanderer said...

Wonderful post, and I've thought of this before as well. I've also noticed that the friendships I had when I was younger seemed much closer and much more intense. I don't know if its because when we are younger we spend more time with our friends (hence more intensity) or if its because we are just more open and less guarded in our youth. In any case, I think when we meet our spouses, they fulfill many of the roles that various friends have filled over the years.

The randomness of who we encounter along the way is truly fascinating, and how those small encounters make up a lifetime is mind-boggling.

torontopearl said...

Thank you for your comments.

Glad I'm not the only person who contemplates these issues in life.

CM: I always used to feel very upset with these gains and losses of people, but I've come to realize this is what paints the landscape of our lives. (remind me of this when another friend falls out of the picture!)

Genendy: Interesting point you make about those 2-minute encounters in public places. You never know though, how those 2 minutes might impact someone, ie. a smile, a thank-you, a kind word might help perk up yours or the other person's day...and even week!

Wanderer: Glad you wandered over!
I like the point about spouses playing a multifaceted role. Is that why most people refer to their spouse as their best friend? It's sort of a everything-you-ever-wanted-and-more rolled into the other human being with whom you share your life.

Anonymous said...

You mean I don't have to feel guilty or inadequate for letting friendships drift away. It seems I always have a friend talking about their "friend of 20 years".