Sunday, 5 January 2014

Each life that touches ours for good . . .

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“Why did you do all this for me?' he asked. 'I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.' 'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
~E.B.White, Charlottes Web

This is my good friend Leona.  I had a message from her daughter this morning on facebook, letting me know that her mom is turning 75 soon, and it got me to thinking about this wonderful person in my life and how she had touched my life for good and just how much influence she has had on me through the years.  It is hard to believe she is turning 75, but then again, it is hard to believe I am 58!!

Leona and I met at Bingo back on the 22nd of November in 1981, at the junior ranks mess on the base in London, Ontario.   I can tell you the exact date that I met her because I know that I met her the night before my second oldest son was born.  We had just moved to London but a few weeks before and I knew nobody there at all, which was a real concern with my baby being due at any time.   I can't even tell you how I got to Bingo that night, only that I was there.   Leona was sitting next to me and another lady named Debbie, was sitting just across from me. It turned out that Leona had only just moved to London as well, and Debbie lived just down the street from me.   We had a good old gab that night and they both offered to help me out with my kids when I went into labor until my sister could get there from Windsor (little did we know how soon that would be!).  The point being that we all became friends on that night, a friendship which has been going now for over 33 years.

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Some people move into your life and they touch it briefly and then move on, and you scarcely even know that they have been there.  Others move into your life and they make such an impact that your life is never the same for them having been there.  They have touched your life in such a way that your life is forever changed and made better for them having touched it.  Such has been my friendship with Leona.

We could go months and maybe even years without speaking, just due to the busyness of life, but then when we do speak again it's as if not a moment has passed.   That is the mark of a true friend.  Each time our souls collide it's as if they have never been apart.  From the moment we met, soul spoke to soul and we recognized the kindred spirit residing in each other.

Leona was a bit older than myself, some 16 years, but that never mattered to me.   I always found her so much fun to be with and so very inspiring and helpful.   She greatly influenced my cooking skills and showed me how to do lots of things.   She may not know that, but it's true . . . I still make her peanut butter balls each Christmas . . .  and her lazy chicken, along with a few other recipes have become a delicious part of the fabric of my life . . .

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But we shared much more than recipes.   We shared hearts.  The four years I lived in London, we spoke on the telephone almost every morning of that time.   I don't believe there is anything we did not discuss and sort out together.   We broke bread and shared meals and celebrations together countless times.   She became much, much more than a friend to me, she became family, and that bond has never lessened, and although we have each moved many times since those few years together in London, that bond of love and friendship has stayed strong and the lessons I learned from her and the example that she set for me during those years has  and have remained as a light in my life.

I was fortunate enough to live close to her again for a few years when I moved to Oromocto back in the early 1990's.  We have shared many a cup of tea through the years, and sorted out the world and all its problems together.  We have laughed together and prayed together, we have cried together, we have raised children and husbands together and all that that entails  . . .  and when I think back on it, we have taught each other great lessons,  and the tapestry of my life has been immeasurably influenced and embroidered beautifully just by her having been a part of it.

When my marriage broke up a lot of my friends chose to turn their backs on me, and never even wanted to know me any more . . . not Leona.   She was my friend through thick and thin, no matter what and she always trusted in me.  She would not and did not abandon me.   She was not a fair weather friend, but an always friend.   Those kinds of friends are priceless indeed.

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I have had many friends and acquaintenances in my lifetime, but very few which I would call bosom buddies, or kindred spirits.  Those special friends I could probably count on one hand.  Leona is one of those and I wish so much that I could be there to help her celebrate her 75th.  Alas, I cannot . . . but I will be there in spirit wishing her well.

There is a hymn we sing in my church called, "Each Life That Touches Ours For Good."  It goes like this . . .

Each life that touches ours for good
reflects thine own great mercy Lord
Thou sendest blessings from above,
Through words and deeds of those who love.  

When such a friend from us departs,
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord to thee.

What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.   

For worthy friends whose lives proclaim
Devotion to the Saviour's name,
Who bless our days with peace and love,
We praise thy goodness, Lord, above.

When I read the words to this beautiful hymn I think of my dear friend Leona and all that she has been and all that she is to me and I am so very grateful to God that . . . by whatever means He chose, I met this wonderful woman on that night in a smoky Bingo Hall in London, Ontario all those many years ago  . . .  and that she has been a part of my beautiful life ever since.  I wish I could reach out and give her a hug and just tell her that I love her, but I guess I'll have to send a card instead . . . 

She'll know what I mean and feel of my love . . . a kindred spirit  always does.  

A thought to carry with you through today . . . 

░░░░░░░░░░░░░ ░░░░░░░░░░░░░
The greatest kindness is often shown
in letting things go.
None of us is perfect,
but we can all be perfect friends
and perfect partners
by allowing those that we love
to be imperfect.
~Neale Donald Walsch  

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Baking in The English Kitchen today . . . Cherry Rock Buns.

Have a beautiful sabbath day!

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