you have those friends. the ones you don’t get to talk to or see all the time, but the instant you call or text or, even better, get to be with them, you pick up right where you left off. sometimes, those calls or visits are really long; there’s so much to catch up on.
susan and i had one of those calls recently. the conversation ranged across a gigantic prairie of life subjects – from children to lenten service music to food to relationships to age to challenges to direction to joys to disappointments. there’s always the inevitable “we should talk more often” and “i miss you”; times we realize how much running our crazy worlds past each other matters. the “tuition” takes just a little bit less of a toll if we can utter the gory details to our friend, divulge our imagined vindication on whatever the “tuition” is, paint a picture – describing in inordinate detail – of each of our chronicles.
linda, infinite in wisdom and groundedness, finds humor and the wise sticking point in situations. she has been there for me for decades, close by and from afar. she is a model of loving steadfastness and makes me feel as if she hugged me, even if we are only on the phone.
heidi, another one of those dear people for me, always asks, “what’s the learning?”. as infuriating as that question can be, it is a perspective-arranger. it gives you pause for thought and invites another viewpoint. the thing i may be obsessing on may not be the point after all.
toward the end of our phone call, susan and i laughed about all the things we were ‘learning’. oh yes, grateful students? well, maybe not exactly. but we are pretty enlightened (for the most part) and we kept laughing as susan said, “yeah, all these life lessons are great, but the tuition sucks.” we hung up with promises to call again soon. whether or not that happens right away, i know she is right there.
because here’s the thing we can count on – in the midst of the “tuition that sucks” is that our true relationships and the support we receive from them is endless. the conversation never really stops. it just hopscotches from one time to the next, a life-thread of lessons shared.