Silver and Gold…

“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, and the other is gold.” I remember singing this as a young girl. I couldn’t remember where. Thanks to Google, I realized it was from my days in Girl Scouts.

What triggered this memory from years ago? A friend I met at a cancer survivor retreat is passing away. She loved the Golden Girls and even went on a Golden Girls theme cruise. She is the third one from the retreat to pass away since April 2019. In less than 2 years, 3 of the 30 ladies have passed away. All of them were younger ladies with loved ones who will miss them. I wasn’t prepared for this to happen. Recurrence makes us more aware of our own mortality. We aren’t immortal. Sometimes we forget this and act as though we will live forever.

The Healing Odyssey 53rd retreat in the mountains of California was completely out of my comfort zone. They try to make it affordable so any cancer survivor can attend. I just had to get myself to CA. Flying alone is something I’ve done before. Staying with 29 other ladies who have had cancer previously or were still being treated was an experience like no other. I had an instant bond with total strangers. My story was enough. My cancer was enough. My journey was enough. I told them stories very few people know. I cried with and hugged these new friends. I zip-lined – which is something I swore I’d never do. I went on a ropes course, high in the trees with my legs shaking so fiercely as I thought for sure I’d fall. I did yoga outside at the top of the mountain. I went for walks among the tall pine trees and sat silently to look out over the valley below.

The whole song is: Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold. A circle is round, it has no end. That’s how long I will be your friend. A fire burns bright, it warms the heart. We’ve been friends from the very start. You have one hand, I have the other. Put them together, we have each other. Silver is precious, gold is too. I am precious and so are you. You help me and I’ll help you, and together we will see it through. The sky is blue. The Earth is green. I can help to keep it clean. Across the land, Across the sea… Friends forever we will always be.

I’m forever grateful for my experience at the retreat. I hope they are able to hold it again once COVID is under control. Rest In Peace sweet friends.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough. Take a moment to reach out to your silver and gold friends today.

Have a friend who thinks you are enough…

Change is hard. It’s scary. It’s also not impossible. It’s been 6 months since we moved … half of a calendar year has gone by in a new state, new city, new schools, new jobs, new churches, new Dr’s. We are still adjusting but we are also doing fine. More people were worried about my kids than my husband and I. “It must be hard to move at that age.” “I can’t believe you changed schools during the school year.” You get the idea – I must have ruined their lives. Only, I didn’t.

Kids are way more resilient than we give them credit for. Yes, we moved our kids. But we also love and support them, we feed and clothe them and take them places. They aren’t abused, neglected, dealing with alcoholic parents or wondering where their next meal will come from. Many of their classmates are. We just don’t see or talk about it as much. Kids are also more easy going (sometimes). They may be more open to learning about “the new kid.” The boys still miss their friends deeply, but they are also making new friends. Much easier than the adults are. Making new friends as an adult is harder, in my opinion.

I don’t have anything to compare it to. We moved to Kindred when I was 1. I graduated from high school in the same town. I even moved back for a period of time. I didn’t have much change of scenery. I wasn’t forced to adapt. That’s not a bad thing – it was comfortable and secure. It was safe.

Making friends as an adult is hard for me. I’ve become even more introverted than before. I fear rejection & judgement. It’s scary and doesn’t feel safe. I am admittedly hard to know. I have a small circle of close friends, but those are ones that I would do anything for. I am very thankful for them. I became friends with Jessie when we were neighbors. I offered some baby clothes to my pregnant neighbor, and somehow we clicked. Similar values, love to bake, both introverted. We would go on walks around our neighborhood & talk for hours. We’d lose track of time while we put on miles. We’d have monthly group suppers (with enough food to feed many) Then she moved. Just 15 miles, but it was so hard. Would we stay friends? Would we still see each other? I mourned the loss of my best friend & walking partner…The person who didn’t care if my house was messy or not. She accepted me for me. The real me was enough for her. Fast forward many years…We stayed friends and are still close, even though I’m farther away. It just takes more planning to get together in person. She knows that if she texts me at 11:30pm, that I’m sleeping but I will reply to her at 6am when I get up. Our kids have grown up together and act more like cousins or brothers and sisters than just friends.

Friendship are hard, but they are possible. I may meet some new people, but I will always cherish the friends in my circle. I know people who are making some big life moves, and the thought of leaving their friends is hard. My advice is this: “you will make time for what/whom is important to you.” Peace be with you on your journey and may you always has a friend who believes you are enough. (Because you ARE!)