Sunday, October 28, 2012

Friends…or not?

Sculptures by the Sea...Bondi to Bronte beaches, Sydney 2012 (photo the author) 

It has been an interesting week.  I had a trip back to Canberra, the national capital of Australia, where I finished my high schooling, and to where I returned after a year in Washington DC at our Embassy, to work for six years in the personal offices of two Australian Prime Ministers.

As a woman in her early twenties they were days filled with wonder…about the people I met and worked with, the machinations of government at a time when Australia was going through major political changes and about the love affairs I had  and people I enjoyed as I matured over those six years.

I read a great quote the other day before I left for Canberra which captured the essence of what I think friendship is all about…it talked about friends being the people with whom you can pick up up the telephone and talk as if months, or even years have not passed...

I have friends around the world with whom I rarely meet, but we communicate, much more easily these days with Skype, email and Facebook than we did when we relied on long, handwritten letters and thoughtful postcards from other lands….but I must admit that I am still one who writes postcards and cards and enjoys sharing my written words.

Taken from the interior of a circular wood and metal sculpture (photo the author)
Sculptures by the Sea, Sydney 2012
When I knew I was going to work for a couple of days in Canberra I contacted a colleague from the “old days” and suggested that we catch up the day before I had to work…to enjoy reminiscing about old times while enjoying a long lunch and filling in each other’s memories. He was a mentor and supporter of mine when I was a young woman and even though we have rarely had personal meetings in the last twenty years our correspondence and phone calls have been consistent through the years.

The reason I did not see him when I was there was because he misconstrued the nature of my wanting a “catch up”… we had never had a personal relationship, he was my superior, but he changed the nature of our long term friendship by altering its boundaries…

These things happen, and my heart is very heavy that our friendship has been irrevocably damaged.

It started me thinking about other “lost” friendships I have had over the past forty years or so…the nature of time and circumstance inevitably changes relationships;  people move to other countries, cities, get married to people who are not compatible with the friendship;  jealousies occur when careers move in different directions;  and love affairs which were most importantly friendships sometimes dissolve and hearts are broken, more with the loss of the friendship than the love.

Sculptures by the Sea (photo the author)

I had a day with my daughter in Sydney on my way home from Canberra.  She and I are great friends as well as mother and daughter.  She has talked to me many times since she moved from her home city about integrating into new environments, meeting new friends, missing home town school friends, and moving on with life as it changes.  It’s not easy and somehow it is not a transition which age and wisdom assist, too much of the heart is involved. But it’s life in all it’s wonderful challenging ways.

Sculptures by the Sea (photo the author)
 I am blessed to have friends whom I have known for forty years or more;  we have at times lost contact as our lives have moved in different directions, but somehow those bonds we developed as teenagers have sustained our love for each other as true friends through the decades.

My heart has been damaged this year with the loss of a five year romantic friendship, but the joy that came out of the pain was from the support and encouragement of my friends…old and new.

It hurts...but it's true...a "share" I was sent
This morning my son came home with two of his close friends, whom he has known since he was about eight years old.  The four of us sat about talking, these late 20’s young men, reminiscing with me about days at our beach house when they hid beer cans and cigarettes from me; and the times when I taught them to dance…and to not take themselves too seriously.

While visiting Sydney I had the opportunity to visit Sculptures by the Sea, a wonderful open air exhibition which I enjoyed with  my daughter and her family while taking the cliff walk between Bondi and Bronte Beaches…I hope you enjoy the photos.  The sculptures were interspaced by people, families and friends, enjoying and sharing the joy of life with one another.  The true measure of friendship I believe.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this post.
    I shall pass the quotation on to my daughter. She's justcome out of a seven year relationship and although young, resilient and by mutual consent breaking up and selling out has been traumatic.

    Hope you are feeling a positive as the post reads.

    Best wishes

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  2. Thank you for your lovely comment. I do hope your daughter will understand, as I now do, that time helps, just as everyone says it does. And that every experience does make us stronger. Louise

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