Love At First Sight

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

You know how some friendships are built up slowly, over time, until one day you realize that you really don't know what you would do without that person in your life? While others, you know almost from the moment you meet and begin conversing with a person that you will be friends for life--"kindred spirits."

"Kindred spirits" was a concept I first heard of while reading Anne of Green Gables. The type of friends that Anne and Diana were. I wanted a friend like that so badly. (Having a romantic name like "Diana" always helps, too.)

I have had the good fortune in my life to have several friendships like that, which still remain to this day.

But today--today may be the beginning of another.

Remember this guy? And here he is again. And once more. (Wow, I never realized until right now how often he has appeared on my blog! He's going to want to start getting paid royalties, soon!)

Well, today I had tea with his wife.

Bonita and I had discovered a common interest at the Sunday School Picnic back in June. I was toting Jabin around on my hip, and thanks to the coolness of the weather he was wearing the little lime-green sweater I had knit while pregnant with Jude. Bonita saw the sweater, and immediatly struck up a conversation with me about knitting. I met her children, Emma (4) and Obadiah (almost 2). We promised to get together "sometime" and knit.

Somehow, summer slipped away unnoticed. I feel like I have hardly seen anyone this summer, like I have lived in my own little sheltered world with only occasional forays into civilized society. Two weeks ago, Bonita and I passed each other in the foyer at church, and I made a comment about having her over "soon" to "knit at my house." She seemed enthused about the idea, but when Friday came, I realized with dismay that I had again neglected to call.

So, on Sunday morning, I purposed to invite Bonita over for lunch some day this week when I saw her. Which I did. Lunch didn't work out this time, but she did come over for coffee today.

We have so much in common. I had been apprehensive that the wife of the man with whom I am on good, but not exactly harmonious (philosophy-wise) terms with would have some judgments already made in her head because of things her husband may have told her about me. (Not to mention, I disregarded Peggy Sue's good advice and gave her my blog address at the Sunday School Picnic. I don't think she's read it, though.) How could I know that she would also be into health and nutrition? (It makes sense, I know, to be into that kind of thing when you are a doctor's wife. But not everyone is "into it" to the extreme of eradicating toxins from your house in all ways possible, such as cleaning products and cookware.) How could I know that she had been a missionary kid until the age of 12, and that she and her Jason (for that is Dr. Unger's first name) want to return to the mission field as well? How could I know that she, too, is a pianist? How could I know that we not only have common interests, but we just "click?" (Did I mention that our husband's have the same first name? How weird is that? :-D)

Now, with all the giddiness of a new romance, I want her to return tomorrow, so we can continue the conversation that was cut so short by lack of time. I want to know more! I want to bond better! I want to see if this friendship will be all that it seems to be promising at the moment!

I have been developing some good friendships here. Serena, Naomi, Robin B., Robin N., good women all, all of whom I enjoy spending time with, all of whom I share common interests with, all of whom have the potential to be friends for life. In fact, I probably have a greater number of potentially really good new friends up here than I have had since high school. I find that once you become a mom, though, it is difficult to make that really closely-bonded friendship that would sometimes "just happen" during school or college days. The main problem, of course, is that usually while you are trying to visit with your new friend, you are also keeping an eye, an arm, and three toes in continual motion, sweeping around the environment to make sure your children are not doing harm to their property--or their children. This distraction often serves to slow the process of bonding right down to molasses-running-uphill-in-January velocities.

But, when you find a friend that you "click" with--it seems you skip several steps in that bonding process. You talk for an hour, and feel like you've known this person for years. You start finishing each other's sentences. You can't wait to learn everything about who they are, what they've done, what they like.

If she were male, I think I'd be "infatuated!"

But, like a new crush, one can't appear to be too eager. (Bonita, if you're reading this, I guess my cover's blown!) Because a lot of potentially-great relationships have been blown to pieces by one party being too clingy, needy, or demanding too much too soon. A friendship should be easy, like putting on your favourite pair of jeans, or a comfortable bra--supportive where you need it, but without unnecessary chafing. ("Easy" as in not being a drain on you physically, emotionally, or spiritually, but instead, lifting you up. Not "easy" as in no conflict ever appears, because it is the friendships that have conflict and survive that stand the test of time.)

"It takes a long time to grow an old friend" the saying goes. So true. Even relationships that seem to travel through the stages of intimacy at warp-speed due to an unnatural "hyper-real" situation, such as camp, or a group overseas trip, or searching for the biggest diamond in history together, or some other intense bonding situation, will still require the time to "set."

When I was in college and would work really hard at memorizing a performance piece, my teacher would still caution against trying to perform it by memory too soon. "It takes time to set," he would say, meaning, it takes time to become second nature, for your fingers to play that pattern of notes instinctively, for your muscle memory to kick in.

I thank God for my friends where the "pattern" has become "second nature." Some of them, it took us a while, until I realized I really wouldn't know what to do without them in my life.

And some of them are "kindred spirits."

Like Bonita.

(Now, if Jason and Jason hit it off, we'll really be laughing! Is that too much to hope for?)

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  1. Life sure can throw some curveballs huh? I think it's cool you gave this relationship a chance instead of not trying because you were sure she had ideas about you. I love it when you meet a new friend that just clicks. Puts a spring in your step :)

  2. Hi, Beth! I love your new photo! And you are so right. Sounds like you've got some experience with this, too--that warms my heart. Everyone needs friends like that.

  3. i LOVE the ANNE series.. bought the whole DVD collection for my mom when i came back from Canada....

    yes.. clingy people can really turn off a friendship..

    but so can people who play hard to get.and who turn to their friends only when they need someone to talk about their worries.

  4. Grafx - You're right. There has to be more give than take on both parts of a relationship, and that includes both time and support and all those other things that make up a healthy friendship.

    The movies are good, but the books, as per usual, are better. Especially because they telescoped so much of the storyline to make the movies.

  5. It sounds a lot like our fast friendship too tho it was based on other "stuff". Made me a bit jealous and definitely made me miss you some more.

    How funny is it that we both blog about friendship at about the same time?

    Loves and hugs always!


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