"...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...as you continually refer to her in your posts.)