Thursday, May 11, 2006

Thoughts on a Friendship


Cathy and I have known each other casually for more than twenty years, but have only been close for about the past five or six. This came about in an unusual way; her close girlfriend died and God said to me, "Cathy's going to need a friend. You're it." Since God is seldom so forthcoming, I knew not to argue. Besides I already liked Cathy.
. . . .
We don't see each other one-on-one very often. We don't talk on the phone even once a month. But there's a deep connection there, and we both know it. I realized about a year ago that Cathy's one of my go-to people. In the past year, she's been there for me on matters of tremendous importance, quickly helping me to separate my paranoia from the reality.
. . . .
She is a fine listener, she's nonjudgmental, she's quick to come to clarity and -- perhaps most important -- Cathy has the capacity to hold a viewpoint on a subject that is a polar opposite of mine and allow that to be, without feeling she has to convert me.
. . . .
I guess the striking thing about the relationship is that we both presume a history that doesn't quite exist. Sure, we were passing acquaintances for many, many years. Then, so suddenly, we realized we meant something to each other, without having to go through the usual exploratory phases of a friendship.
. . . .
Woody used to talk about circles of relationship and what he said made sense to me. It was about how there are circles of relationship around us and those circles that are closest to us are the smallest and those farthest out are the largest. According to Woody, generally speaking, those in that smallest, most intimate circle are those we've had a relationship with the longest. Those in the outer circles are people we haven't known as long, people who are untested, unproven. Most of the time this is true for me. Then there's Cathy, but God put us together and God makes and breaks the rules.
. . . .
One other thing. If you know Cathy, then you'll understand the picture. If you don't know her, enjoy it anyway.

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