Monday, January 30, 2006

Big Friend/Little Friend

A friend, who became my friend at the age of five, wrote this for me when she was close to thirty. It brought tears to my eyes and made me wish everyone could have the wonderful experience of being a Big Friend to at least one child.

Big Friend / Little Friend
When I was five, my mother took me to visit a big lady who lived in a big house with her big husband and a big dog. The lady had neat toys and lots of fun kids movies and her big dog was friendly, not scary. The big lady talked to me like I was a real person, not just a kid. She had kind eyes and a warm laugh and from that day on she became my Big Friend.


Over the years, as I was growing up, my Big Friend taught me lots of thing. The first thing I learned was not to knock something until I've tried it. The second lesson was to never be afraid of trying new things. To this day, I like olives on my pizza and fried green tomatoes.

When I entered my terrible teens, and I hated everyone, even myself, my Big Friend understood when I stopped coming to visit. She never pressured me or made me feel guilty. She just said “I'd love to see you when you have more time.” and I knew she'd be there when I was ready.

The time came when I realized that life didn't have to be as hard as I made it out to be and I went to visit my Big Friend once again. She welcomed me with a big hug and her wonderful warm smile and it was like no time had passed. In fact, my visits with my Big Friend became like time spent in a Time Warp. Her little corner of the world seemed outside of Time. Things going on in the rest of the world had little effect in the Time Warp. This was a place to rest and rejuvenate. Even just hours spent in the Time Warp was enough to recharge my batteries.
Slowly, subtly, at a pace I unknowingly set myself, my Big Friend began to teach me once more. By now the lessons were more complex, yet at the same time, so simple.

“Always reach out to someone in need” was such an easy concept. My Big Friend expanded on that by adding “Always walk your path with one hand stretched out ahead of you to receive help when you need it, and the other hand reaching backwards to help those struggling behind you.” Simple, basic, profound.


When I was struggling with religious issues, I came to my Big Friend for advice. “We are all following our own path, and all paths lead up the same mountain, converging to meet at the same place, the top” My Big Friend has a way of drawing pictures in my mind to help me understand the answers to my questions.

As most of us eventually do, I met the person who I plan to spend at least the rest of my life with, and I began to bring him along on my visits. My Big Friend extended the same kindness and understanding to him as she always did to me.

The day came when my Big Friend decided it was time to teach me about the birds and the bees. I was in my twenties and had been with my Significant Other for several years. I knew all abut the birds and the bees, but this was to be, as usual, a different kind of talk. The birds in question were my pets. By caring for them together, my partner and I would learn more about each other and ourselves, in a way similar to parents raising a child. The bees were not the winged variety, but those people whom we meet every day, some of whom will sting us, usually out of fear. By learning to see the fear, and choosing words and actions that would not feed it, I could soon learn to avoid many stings altogether.

My Big Friend surprised me one day by telling me she generally didn't like kids. “But I was a kid and you liked me… didn't you?” I asked. She informed me with a smile, that I was the exception that proved the rule. I was her Little Friend, which was something much more special than just a kid. I could hardly believe it when my Big Friend told me that she got as much out of having a Little Friend as I did from having a Big Friend. I'm still working on understanding that one, but she assures me that one day, I will understand, so I know I will.

Recently it dawned on me that my Big Friend had stopped being my Big Friend long ago. Somewhere along the way, I had mentally dropped the “Big” and kept the most important part, “Friend”.
By Jennifer Mertel


When she sent this to me, the accompanying letter stated that the enclosed is a “work in progress. I have a feeling that it will never be finished, because the more time we spend together, the more I will want to add.”

As I read it, with the tears streaming down my face and a big warm glow in my heart, I wished with all my heart that everyone could experience the joy that having a Little Friend has brought to my life.

4 comments:

Icylyrics said...

Absolutely beautiful! Can't wait to read the next chapter. Scanned your blog, feel as though I've made a new FRIEND.

Icy

Zareba said...

Thanks for stopping by, and for the positive comments. We can never have too many friends.I look forward to getting acquainted. ...Z

Beard said...

Thank you Zareba, That was beautiful.

Zareba said...

Thank you, Be Now. It touched my heart so deeply, and I wish everyone could experience the joy of watching a little friend grow up.We so seldom have the opportunity to know what an effect we have. I know I never had the chance to thank my big friends who changed my life when I was a child.