The mark of friendship

When I finally see my writing dream to fruition and see my book(s) in print, I hope one thing—that my words will make a mark on at least one reader’s soul. I am a fearless fighter for the underdog, so it’s only naturally that what I am writing now is geared toward young adults. But I won’t limit myself. People of all ages hurt. People of all ages need a friend, the connection with another human being who accepts them as they are unconditionally.

Tomorrow is my last day of my first of four graduate classes I’ll be taking this summer—all in English. What can I say? I loved it. I forgot how much I like learning. It’s so much easier to sit behind the desk than to stand in front of it. I felt right at home. Everyone in class was in tune with one another, and my professor is an expert on pop culture. How cool is that?

There is a point to my rambling. My final task in this class is to write a paper about some aspect of Moby-Dick. I noticed that in the front of the book Melville dedicates the book to Hawthorne. Seems like a minor detail, but I think not. I think Hawthorne make a very deep mark on Melville’s soul, and  his response is found somewhere in the book Moby-Dick. The question is what mark did Hawthorne leave on Melville, and how did this mark shape the writing of Moby-Dick?

A true friend leaves a mark on another person’s soul, but rare is such a true friend. We all have acquaintances, but rarely do we find someone who we connect with on such a deep level that it defies definition.

I don’t talk about my parents much in my blogs because they were such private people, but it’s been a year now since their passing—almost to the day, and thoughts of them, especially my dad, have weighed heavily on my soul. Everyone I have ever met talks about them being such good people. But why?

When it came to my dad, he knew how to be a friend, especially to my mother. Again, they were so private. I don’t think I ever saw them show any public forms of affection, and for that matter, I can’t remember getting a hug or a kiss from them past my elementary school years, but I do know they loved me.

My mom was probably the most stubborn, nit-picky woman in the world. Everything in her house had to be in perfect order, labeled, organized, and neatly put in its place. When I was cleaning out their house, I found my old dolls, still in their original packaging, still in almost pristine condition. Why? Because I never really got to play with them. I had to put in a request ahead of time so that my mom could unpack them and bring them to me. I never really had the freedom to choose or the option to make a mess. It was out of the question.

My mom was a bundle of fears and superstitions, and trying to rationalize with her was impossible. I remember as a small child, if it thunderstormed while my dad was at work, we had to unplug everything and go sit on the bed until the storm passed.

When she packed a lunch for me on field-trip days, she always packed enough for two or three lunches—better to overdo it than to be left without. She wrapped my sandwich in wax paper, put it in a baggie, and then covered it in aluminum foil. By the time I unpacked everything, lunch break was over.

I say these things, not to poke fun at my mom’s eccentricities, but to point out that it takes a very special person to put up with our individual quirks—without trying to change who we are.

My dad accepted everything. I can’t remember him ever raising his voice to her or showing any signs of temper. Later, when she became very ill and very afraid, her remarks would come across as curt, or even hateful—not to me but to him. And he would explain to me that she was afraid. He never got mad at her, never tried to make her see how wrong she was. He wasn’t a weak man. He was strong. He loved her so much that he just absorbed all of these things and let them slide.

He was at her side constantly till the moment she passed away. That’s a true friend.

My dad was a true friend to everyone he met. It used to scare me. If anyone were ever broken down on the side of the road, he thought nothing of stopping and helping them. I was always afraid he would run into a thug who would pull a gun on him and take his money, but I guess God protected him. Everyone he helped truly needed his help. And he expected NOTHING in return. Now days everyone wants something for anything. I don’t want to ever become like that. I hope I can just give because I love. I don’t want to become jaded.

I think the sweetest story I ever heard was when my parent brought me home from the hospital. My aunt told me this story not too long ago. I was a tiny little thing, five pounds or so. My parents had lost their first baby. It was stillborn, the cord wrapped around the baby’s neck. I remember the weeks just before I had Josh. I had hellacious nightmares that something horrible would go wrong—and sure enough it did. We almost lost him. The doctors told Kenny they were going to try to save at least one of us. (I didn’t know this until recently.) Josh suffered from a prolapsed cord, quite similar to what happen to my mother’s first child.I wouldn’t let Kenny call my parents to tell them I was in labor. I didn’t want them to worry. I  let him call after Josh was born.

When I was an infant, I’m sure my mother, who was always extremely anxious her entire life, was afraid something would happen to me. She would not go to sleep. She had to be awake when I was sleeping, just to make sure I was okay. My father, out of love for my mother, agreed to take turns staying up with me just to make sure I made it through the night—and I was a perfectly healthy baby. Well, I WAS perfectly healthy until my dad fell asleep and dropped me on my head. You can imagine the panic that ensued and the trip to the emergency room for the doctors and nurses to reassure them I was just fine. I mean look at me. I’m a picture of total physical and mental health. Just because I stalk celebrities and write psycho blogs doesn’t mean anything is wrong with me. Right?

When I was growing up, there were two particular games kids played. The first game called for a person to fall back into another person’s arms. Either the friend would catch him or not. The other game was mean. Just as a kid prepared to sit down on a chair, another kid would pull it out from him, and everybody gathered round would get a big laugh, everybody but the kid who hit the floor.

Those two types of games and kids who played them are great metaphors for the people we meet in life. Some people are just waiting to pull the chair out from under you, and some people will always be there to catch you when you need them–without wanting anything at all in return.

So as I prepare to write my final paper for my grad class, I ponder the art of friendship.

I hope when I complete my novels I can leave a mark on my readers that will inspire them to be a friend.

There is no greater gift than friendship. I don’t mean acquaintanceship. I mean true friendship, in which a person is willing to do the catching no matter the heaviness of the burden.

That kind of friendship is born of love. And my dad set a pretty good example of that.

About these ads

About Teresa Lockhart

Sometimes when we least expect it we stumble upon the desires of our heart. Some call it a coincidence, but I call it a Godthing. I believe when we walk closely with Him we'll see more of the wonderful hidden blessings He has for us. I've been a freelance writer for several years, interviewing celebrities about the way God is working in their lives. My work has appeared in several Lifeway and Vox publications in addition to many others. I am a frequent writer for the Living Light News out of Edmonton (Canada). When I’m not writing, I spend my time teaching dual enrollment Motlow (college) English, sociology, and high school journalism.

Posted on June 28, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. What a great read! Been going through some “stuff” myself here lately, and am learning how important REAL friends are. Like you say, not merely acquaintances, but FRIENDS. I’m learning that it’s OK to not always be so strong. Those few special friends see you at your very worst, and they still stay around — never making you feel embarrassed or self-conscious for being a mess.

    I must confess that I have never read Moby Dick. I wish I could give some literary insight, but I too feel that the dedication was significant. Writers are a breed all their own. Nothing is written without thought or meaning, especially something so personal as a dedication!

    You have left a mark on my soul. So much alike we are. I’ve not known you as long as many of my friends, but I feel a special connection. You see my playful, silly, curious, mischievous, devilish, mysterious, child-like nature, and yet I know that you know it hides a lifetime of secrets and pain. I see that in you as well. Sometimes “teetering on the edge” and afraid to let anybody know because that’s not what is “expected”. Perhaps that’s what the dedication meant, “I know you know”….

    Happy writing to you, dear FRIEND!

  2. Thank YOU for understanding, and thank you for giving me greater insight into the acknowledgement. When I write I’m almost always inspired by someone. You are a great source of inspiration, and I’m proud to call you twin.

  3. If’n ever I get around to writing my story, perhaps I shall give some thought to the dedication and to one of the few people out there who really “gets it”. :-)

  4. You must, must, must write your story. I am thinking about having a writers get together at Harmony House. It might be fun. I know we’re all terribly busy, but it’s definitely something to consider. :-) I’m glad you “get it.”

  5. Wow, there is nothing as powerful as a personal testimony. You being able to openly discuss your parents, both good and band is so moving. Moving people = art. You’re there. I so often think of the story of that young girl that lived in the room behind the dinner and feel so warmly about what you and your kids did for her. Art is from God, and when you share it, God becomes so real to people. Don’t stop.

  6. Kuby, I don’t know why, but you have been on my mind for the last few days. I am so glad to hear from you. You’ve been such an encouragement to me. I always feel uplifted by your words. I hope all is well with you. You are a gift from God!

  7. “My dad accepted everything. I can’t remember him ever raising his voice to her or showing any signs of temper. Later, when she became very ill and very afraid, her remarks would come across as curt, or even hateful—not to me but to him. And he would explain to me that she was afraid. He never got mad at her, never tried to make her see how wrong she was. He wasn’t a weak man. He was strong. He loved her so much that he just absorbed all of these things and let them slide.”

    This part made me cry. Strong, steadfast love.

    Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 643 other followers

%d bloggers like this: