A few days ago I caught up on the phone with one of my oldest and dearest friends, her name is Jeanne. Not long into the call she shared that, although she wasn’t seriously hurt, she had been hit by a car while riding her bike. Even though I have told myself a thousand times over–she is safe right now–let’s just say the knowledge that the outcome could have been vastly different isn’t lost on me.
Yet another reminder of how precious our time here is.
Jeanne and I met in Vermont at an all girls summer camp in 1976, we lived in cabins that were adjacent to one another, I don’t remember meeting her per se. No, my memories of that summer, and the years that followed, come back to me much in the way photos show up on a wall in a slide show cast from the light of a projector…
There we are fake microphones in hand singing “Sky Rockets in Flight” at the top of our lungs in a mocking and screeching way. Now I see us making our way into Lake Champlain, the coldest lake– to this day –I have ever swam in. Years later there we are riding bikes back to my house from the train station on a dark rainy night, no hands on the handlebars, singing “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head.” Then there was the time that we painted an elderly woman’s porch to raise money for a concert in New York City, but once Jeanne’s mom learned of the plan she vetoed it.
She would probably want you to know that her first near death experience was with me…I took her sailing. Let’s just say it was very windy and I was a relentless dare devil that loved speed. Can you see us tearing through the water sail pulled in so that the boat was heeling so hard it felt as if it would capsize? Yeah. She didn’t like that very much….
Now I see us in her room, tears streaming down our cheeks, doubled over in gales of uncontrollable laughter. We had just been asked to stop laughing. Which of course only caused us to nearly pee our pants we were laughing so hard.
Today she loves to remind me that I was responsable for corrupting her. Truth be told I feel kind of proud of that, I mean really could there have been a safer way to meet boys, drink beers and then go home where you can feel cool without having to continue your destructive path?
We never lived in the same town as children nor have we as adults either. Growing up she lived in a Boston suburb and I lived in a small bedroom community of New York City in Connecticut. Amtrak rides, phone calls and letters knit together a friendship that now has spanned a lifetime. Today she makes Boulder, Colorado her home while I am in San Diego, California and we still manage to talk on the phone until our ears are hot and throats are dry.
Lucky, lucky us…
This morning Jeanne sent an email. She told me she had first received it from one of her friends who lives in Peru, moved by the message, she forwarded it to Jimmy and me. And now I share it with all of you…
Subject: BE HAPPY.
There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.
“Today may there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.” -Author unknown
I couldn’t agree more. What about you?
Helene Cohen Bludman says
Ahhh. It is refreshing to read that message. I feel like printing it out and hanging it right next to my computer. Between this sentiment and Ruth’s audio walk on the beach, I am feeling quite mellow right now!
How funny Helene, I felt very relaxed after Ruth’s audio walk too.
Mary Lanzavecchia says
Amen to this so many times over! It’s so easy to get caught up in our own dramas and think life is so rough when really the roughness is in our own thinking. Happiness is a choice, a minute-by-minute, day-by-day choice.
I agree Mary, choice is the key.
Lois Alter Mark says
Such a beautiful and important message. I’m glad Jeanne is okay and I hope you both share many more pee-in-your-pants laughing moments and maybe not quite as many capsizing boats!
Haha! I doubt she will ever sail with me again, well maybe, I am much more of a weenie now. 😉
Cathy Chester says
Your post reminds me a little of mine, about being in the place you were meant to be. I loved what your friend wrote, and the message by anonymous. I want to post it on my wall!
I can’t wait for the day I meet you IRL because I think we’d gab for hours about so many things. Oh, how I LOVED this post, Elin.
May that day come sooner then later Cathy! Glad you liked the message.
Ruth Curran says
I love imagining you as the corrupter! Makes me smile.
Needless to say those two paragraphs written by some unknown person in some far off land is singing our song! Thanks for sharing the story of your rare friendship and this message!
Haha, I sometimes what happened to that dare devil in me, I think she may have to come back out and try that paragliding! Thank you for being here today to read the message, Ruth.
Carol Cassara says
I’ve seen that before and always thought it made perfect sense. Nice to see it again. Thanks!
Yes. I think it has made the rounds via email and the like.
Oh gosh. I’m a cyclist too. That thought of being hit is always in the back of your mind. So glad she is okay. And that is one of the gifts of aging. I do try to appreciate the little things. The little special moments and dear friends.
For years I was a road runner and had the same fear too Jamie, now I try to stick to trails. It is so scary with people on their phones and leading distracted lives. Dear friends and special moments for sure.
That is the way I live my life too. Free, happy and at peace. I love your friendship story and am lucky enough to have a few of those myself.
Thanks Wendy 🙂
Carpool Goddess says
What beautiful message. I’m so glad your friend is okay. How lovely that you both are still so close. I cherish some of my old friendships the most.
Jeanne Bassett says
Wow Elin, once again you are there for me when I need you! I woke up this morning not very happy from the election outcome, and Colorado especially went really down hill. Then I saw your email and your post. I am so grateful for the fact that you have always been there for me and that we have maintained our deep friendship for the past 38 years. I’m thinking for our 40th anniversary we should go parasailing! Thank you for you ongoing love and support!
Loving you is easy. The election results are another thing altogether. As for parasailing? You are ON! xo