Aren't friends just the most wonderful and precious gift?
As you know I spent Tuesday with a very dear friend in Norwich. It was such a lovely day, filled with smiles, a little sunshine, and a lot of love. We talked, sat quietly, walked in the garden, and sat by a pond watching damsel flies. Although a Bishop now, I first met Fr Evans, as he was to us girls then, when I was 14 and in the third year at Senior school. He was our school Chaplain, and although wasn't at school full time, could often be found in his little office, with copious supplies of coffee and biscuits... and a tape deck which could be found to be playing anything from Schostakovitch (his choice) to Chris de Burgh (ours !! and I might add before the days of Lady in Red!!!) I am not a Catholic, but as we attended a Catholic school we were expected to attend Mass on days of obligation..... and one such day the sermon has made so much sense to me in my troubled state of being 14, that I went and knocked on his office door some time later to talk about it, and a lifetime of friendship was born. The backbone of the friendship was indeed the spiritual teaching that any Priest will give, but brought to a group of rebellious/hormone stricken teenage girls with such care and thought for how life was for us at that difficult age. He taught us to be passionate about our beliefs, whatever they were.... to listen with our hearts and never to judge, and those were rules he lived his life by as our Chaplain.
As years have gone by our friendship has remained strong.... we don't get to see each other often, but when we do we easily lapse into the quiet, serene company that has always been our way.
... and so you see this man has not only taught me about faith, and belief and trust.... but he has also taught me how to be a friend (although I sadly fall short of his measure, but I try!)... and also he has shown me what to look for in a friend. One that listens with an open heart, and never judges........
I am the luckiest girl around.... I have friends in blogland, on forums and "in person" who all seem to live their lives by these values. On my Poultry forum a fairly new member has just had surgery, and to see the effort and love that has gone into supporting him and his young family through the last couple of weeks has been an honour to be part of. On the crafty forum there is so much support for so many things and all done with such love and goodwill, and throughout blogland I have seen so many instances of friends rallying round to support someone who needs to hear some words of comfort, often people they have never met in real life.
So I want to take this time to thank you all for being my friends, and to thank your friends in turn for being there for you. The world would be a sad and lonely place without you all, and I cherish each and every one of you. x