Saturday, July 23, 2016
THE FABRIC OF FRIENDSHIP
Spirit Line, Four Corners, NM
In memory of longtime friend Mike Ruggles who died July 21, 2016
Now that I’ve crossed over into the second half of life, I have the benefit of looking at my life in the rear view mirror. The recent loss and separation of old friends has prompted me to reflect on all the friendships and relationships of strangers and relatives that I’ve had the good fortune to experience. It may sound a bit trite to some but the universal truths in life don’t ever lose their luster and I know that the eternal weaver answers prayers and connects to us in ordinary people who come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Our lives take countless forks on the path to our final destinations and we have the great honor to interact with countless folks along the way. And every encounter adds another thread to the fabric of friendship that is inextricably woven into our very soul and character.
Sometimes those friendships don’t always end as we would have preferred once we’ve moved on, but I learned long ago to substitute the words “next time” whenever I find myself uttering the words “if only”. There are times when there is no going back, but there is always next time. And in the course of a life there are inevitable differing circumstances that leave us in a position to take opposing forks on the path and we drift apart. But that doesn’t alter the woven threads that are set in place within our fabric of friendship that will someday complete the tapestry.
I recently read a post challenging us to consider the use of the term "being blessed”. That can imply that you have found favor in a higher being and are being showered with good things and people. And it can begin to give us a feeling of entitlement and rewarded for good behavior. That may be the case in some instances, but I agree we have to be careful here. The author suggested substituting the words “being grateful” instead of “being blessed”. I think that being grateful for the people who have guided and shaped my life is a much better frame of mind. And we can always emulate those words and actions that we admire and do the opposite of those we don’t as others observe the language of our own lives.
I believe there is a plan for all of us, but we’ve been given the free will to either follow it or take a detour every so often as imperfect human beings. That also applies to all the people who enter and exit our lives over the years. Never-the-less, they all contribute to the colors and patterns they leave in our tapestry. I can honestly say that I’m grateful for all the friends that have participated in weaving the fabric of my life for a reason, a season and a lifetime.
My wife Karen and I enjoyed the adventure of traveling in the Southwest during our early years of marriage. One of those trips included a quest for woven Navajo blankets. We purchased a storm patterned piece on a drive through the four corners region one summer. We were a bit disenchanted with the blanket because we had noticed what we perceived to be a flaw in the lower right hand corner. It was only later that we discovered that the Navajo sometimes weave a “spirit line” into their creations so that the weaver’s spirit has a path to escape after the piece is taken off the loom. I’m perfectly at peace to know that my spirit stays inextricably woven into the fabric of friendship that has influenced my life.