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I spent the weekend with three of my girlfriends from high school. Once again, our time together confirmed my belief that there’s no friend like an old friend. Old friends are a lot like your favorite pair of shoes: comfortable, yet supportive, and with just the right amount of pressure in all the right places. Each time my girlfriends and I see each other, we pick up the conversation as though no time has elapsed since we were last together. More importantly, we unconditionally accept one another, warts and all. While we’re still the same girls we were in high school, our common experiences have bonded us together above and beyond that of casual friends, and in the last year, those bonds have deepened in ways none of us could have predicted.<PREVIEWEND>
It was just a little over a year ago the four of us and our husbands got together to eat, drink and celebrate life. If a fortune teller had stepped into our midst that day and predicted what lay ahead, we would have told her to pack up her gypsy wagon and go sell crazy someplace else. Unfortunately, crazy happened, and to say it caught us all off-guard would be an understatement. Four week later, James died unexpectedly and his family painfully dissolved; three months later Bonnie’s husband died unexpectedly; six months later parts of Bonnie’s home was caught in the most destructive wildfire in Texas history, and the month after that, Gayle was diagnosed with breast cancer. This weekend though, none of us shed a tear over the events of last year. Instead, our tears were because at one time or another, each of us has set aside our own pain to reach for the other’s hand and pull her up.
Friendship is one of the intangibles in life. It can’t be measured or quantified, but it’s found in the laughter and the unspoken words of a compassionate heart. A real friend steps in when you need help the most, when everyone else doesn’t know what to do or say. One special friend in particular, my friend Joan, called me every single night, without fail, for six months after James died until she was certain I was in a better place.
As I made my way home, today, I listened to Paul Simon’s Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes and got to thinking: My girlfriends are the diamonds on the soles of my shoes. While the great girlfriends in our lives may never walk in our shoes, from time to time they stand in the same space with us and help us through things we never dreamed we could face.
When was the last time you called, not emailed, a girlfriend who helped you through breast cancer or another tough time and told her how much you love and appreciate her? When’s the last time you encouraged her or said a prayer for her? Or, perhaps there’s someone you’d like to be friends with. If so, it takes a long time to become an old friend. What are you waiting for?
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