No, I mean a REALLY Good Friend

On Friday, Roxanne sent me a link to an article that pertained to something that happened 19 years ago. The article had me going through old letters from Roxanne looking at things from around that time.

I haven't done a 'tribute to Roxanne' blog post (have I? I honestly don't remember), though she has somewhat done one about me. (or two) While I was chuckling over letters, my kids asked me where I met Roxanne. It kinda all started here: But really, how cute are we? That was our first grade picture and let me say that I, like most of the rest of first grade, didn't appreciate the wise soul that is Roxanne. She is someone that was born an 'old soul' which is great and wise, but not-so-fun in 1st or 2nd grade. She was also a little, um, how might one say, LOUD. Roxanne has presence. Still does. Needless to say, her friendship wasn't always appreciated in elementary school, but in my very tiny school where my enormous class of 17 or 18 was the biggest (and worst behaved according to every teacher we had) sometimes you would take what you could get. If nothing else, she was simply always there.
In time, Roxanne and I did land in the same circle of friends, then we formed a ridiculously close friendship during play practice, on chorus trips, and out of town football games. Our friendship thrived on written communication. If you think I am a lover of words... wow. You just need to hear all of Roxanne's. After Roxanne teaches 8 sections of Language Arts and talks to her husband and children all day, she is about half-way through using her words for the day. So she calls me.
Roxanne has written me notes and letters and cards and emails and all manner of communication. Besides letters from my grandparents, parents, and Troy, I have VERY few letters that I saved from college other than the ones Roxanne wrote to me.
Reading back over those letters of 19 years ago made me laugh at the pie-in-the-sky (and always trying to lose weight) two of us. It made me wish I could gather both of us together sit us down and say, "Listen up, girls..." But I wouldn't have dared to do that, because I know we wouldn't have listened. We had plans, we had dreams, we had hopes, and we had 5 more pounds to lose. (Um, Roxanne, why is it that YOU were going to marry the cowboy and now it is I that lives in the desert, married to a cowboy, with a deer blind needing a home sitting in my back yard?)
My friendship with Roxanne -- just like my relationship with anyone else on this earth, I guess -- has gone through seasons. I wouldn't ever say a really bad one, but there have been many times it's been a blessing that she lived 350 miles away from me. Sometimes I had plenty (as my mother would say) "to say grace over" in my own life, I didn't have the strength or capacity to carry anyone else's burden, nor did I ask her to carry any of mine.
I have confessed to her more than once that were it not for her consistent "callin' to check on ya" to me that I would have let our friendship fall by the wayside in our twenties -- in that season of young adulthood when everyone feels the need to shed 'childish' ways and relationships, even those that may be of infinite value.
We are in a very comfortable season of frienship right now. I think it came about with the myriad of changes in Roxanne's life in the last 12-18 months and the one major one in mine (quitting work), it was easy and comfortable to turn to someone that didn't require much explanation or pretense. Through the sloughing off of externals that signify major change for each of us, we see that we still have each other.
As the event of last week brought out those letters, and I re-read them, I thought again of this friendship I have. This crazy, amazingly blessed friendship. The letters I was reading were from the summer of 1990 -- months before I even met my husband, who I am soon to celebrate 17 years of marriage with! That is a LONG friendship!
Roxanne has presence, as I've said. She also doesn't hold back: words, love, emotions. I vividly remember Poppa Max chuckling and saying, "You know, when you've been hugged by Roxanne, you've really been hugged!" As a teenager I confess a limited patience with such ooshy-gooshy emotion. It was too much for me, who put a LOT of effort into trying to always appear to be completely collected and even-keel.
So I read her proclamations of her friendship love for me -- that sounded similar to scripture you read about Jonathan and David. I have confessed not-too-long ago that their friendship just makes me uncomfortable. What I know now, my 2009 self, with same-sex attraction swirling everywhere, is uncomfortable with the love professed between Jonathan and David. I had to re-think those words as I read what my 1990 self would have read from a dear friend: the same type of profession of friendship love, a gratitude of a friendship that understands and that is unmoving.
And above all, I am grateful. Few people can claim such a friend ever in their lifetime. I have been able to claim such a friend FOR a lifetime.


Roxanne said...

And I REALLY needed that today. You know me. . .my balloon rises higher and falls faster than anyone else you know. I've leveled out somewhat over the ensuing years, but the events of last Friday undid me. So. Thank you. I am glad you saved my letters if for no other reason than they made you laugh 20 years later. . .and if I had only known then what a brood mare REALLY looks like. :)

I still think it was a bit prophetic that we ended up next to each other in that first grade picture. God had a plan. I'm glad he didn't let you in on it, or you would have run very far away.

I love you. You know.

Stephanie said...

I don't know what I'd do without Roxanne. She is indeed a TRUE friend. :)

Becky said...

Loved this, Sarah. You and Roxanne have been doubly blessed. Can't wait to hear the stories told someday from your front porches when you're in your "housecoats" telling stories to your grandchildren, sharing your memoirs, reminiscing over a lifetime of love for one another! I'm thinkin' when that time comes you should live just down the road from each other again and make sure Sonic is nearby!

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