The Story of Joi:
My part-time teaching job took me in to every elementary classroom in my small town. One day I walked in to a fourth grade class and met Imani, a long-haired Native American boy with the kindest eyes I had ever seen. All day I couldn’t stop thinking about the child. That afternoon, on the phone with my sister, I blurted, “I want to know Imani’s mother! I just know she would be my friend!”
A year passed.
I was watching my daughter dance in her ballet class when a new student arrived. I overheard Nia’s grandma telling the dance instructor how this was Nia’s first year to be home-schooled. I felt compelled to introduce myself to Grandma and I scribbled my phone number on a piece of paper to give to the mother. A month later Nia’s mother called me (in hindsight this truly shocks me since she is an introvert and not the type who would call a stranger). Joi and I talked for fifteen minutes, discussing different home-school curriculum and then she mentioned her son…..Imani. We were instant friends…drawn together by a force I can’t even explain. The family had to move away just a year later, but this bizarre meeting of two kindred hearts, gave me faith in friendship.
The Story of Nolan:
In the ninth grade I enrolled in a strange little southern mostly-white Christian academy which, it turned out, was the school attended by the students who had been kicked out of the public schools or who had racist parents. There were two girls who didn’t fit the school stereotypes and Cherilyn, Nolan and I became fast friends through the year. The next year we were accepted at different prep schools and lost touch.
Twenty three years passed.
Nolan found me on Facebook and we instantly connected as if we had seen each other yesterday. Although I was glad to have her back in my life, I wondered about the timing. The next month she found out she was pregnant…with twins! The emails flew discussing mother topics, and, when she made the transition from full-time librarian to stay-at-home Mom, I was there to support her and talk her through it. She continues to hone her research skills by finding the answers to my million random questions. Her steady, intellectual self balances my zany confusion. I’m so thankful she found me again.
The Other Stories:
These are happy friendship stories and there are more stories like these. I have long-term, deep friendships who have stood the test of time. I have those lovely friends who come forward during emergencies and stand like rocks during my trials and pains. I have the friends who will just pick back up on our relationship whenever there is a small break in both of our busy schedules. There are Facebook friends who share in my daily life–as I share in theirs–with status updates and comments.
But there are less happy stories, too. I have friendships who have just drifted away on the wind and no one knows why. I have friends who have turned to acquaintances because the friendship was for a time and place that no longer exists. I have friendships I’ve purposely cut-off because I couldn’t handle the drama (I’m usually such a fan of drama :)…but not that kind). And there are a few friends who have let me go, too.
Friendships are such slippery little things….coming and going, slipping in and out. But when the timing hits just right–and the hearts are kindred spirits–there are few things as magical as friendship.