Friendship and Fate

One of my many faults is that I don't always keep up with people I care about. It's not that I stop thinking about them. Indeed, I often wonder where they are and, more importantly, who they are now. But, I moved, they moved, we have kids -and those kids have activities to be driven to-, addresses seem to disappear, emails change, drama happens -- and before I knew it, people who were a part of my life are no longer around.

On the one hand, as ridiculously superstitious as it is, I believe we meet the people we do for a particular reason. They're there to help us learn something about ourselves or the world. And maybe they're in our lives for some pre-ordained amount of time.

On the other hand, I believe we have free will and we decide who we want to make the effort to stay in touch with. That's why I don't have a problem with Facebook and MySpace. Pointless time wasters? Maybe. But the truth is that because of both I've managed to catch up with quite a few folks I've lost touch with over the years.

One of the friends I've connected with again, Jane, fortunately has a job that sometimes brings her here to LA. I saw her last Friday for the first time in a dozen years.

When we first connected on Facebook, it was funny for me to remember how when we were younger and I'd have my moments where I felt like an ugly duckling, I wanted to be Jane.

Sure, folks can say that everyone should just want to be themselves, and I can definitely say that now. But when you feel like a gangly, geeky preteen and teen, it's easy to want to be someone else. And to me, Jane always had such style, grace and personal warmth. She was creative, boys liked her a whole lot, and I remember her having the coolest pair of red jeans when we were teenagers. Don't ask why I remember random things like those jeans, but I do.

A dozen years later, she still has all those qualities. But now, she also has greater wisdom and maturity. I was so happy to give her a hug, and listen to what's been going on in her life, what her hopes and dreams are, the things that she's thinking about, and what moves her spiritually. She said some things I definitely needed to hear and it was easy to share some of what's in my heart. Indeed, our conversation picked up as if we've been talking a couple times a week. And she's generous enough to claim to have forgotten about the time I ate tons of oranges and then threw up in her bedroom.

So yes, it made me think about how important it is to keep up with the people who mean the most to me. It's something I need to commit to doing. I can't leave everything to fate.

Comments

Miz JJ said…
You guys look gorgeous in that picture. I love meeting up with people I have not seen in a few years. It can be good to catch up on all that lost time.
Liz Dwyer said…
Miz JJ,
Why thank you! I was feeling like I looked sorta busted that day so the compliment is especially appreciated! ;0 It is good to catch up on lost time though. So much has happened in both of our lives that it's amazing.
You are both beautiful women, and I'm so glad you've reconnected.

I have always been shy (and sometimes lazy) about keeping up with those in my past, and also wonder what their lives are like now, and if they ever think of me.

It's so true that our deepest friendships can be picked up after long absence as if we had seen them but days ago.

This is such a warmth-sharing post. Thank you.
Unknown said…
Liz, both of you are just gorgeous! I know what you mean about re-connecting with old friends. I have two friends that I hope to run into some day. One is a friend from high school, Sheri, who was like your friend Jane to me. She was beautiful and elegant, while I felt like a walking puffer fish. She taught me how to put on makeup, do my hair (which I have forgotten in favor of pulling back into a ponytail), and how to shop and put together an outfit. I was a tomboy; I didn't know any of those things.

I also have a friend named Alicia who I've also lost track of. She was a godsend to me during a very difficult time in my life. She comforted me when my brother died, and helped me to see that I deserved more from a relationship than what my ex had to offer. (I'm still working on discovering the "more" part in a relationship.) Last time I talked to her, she was living in Riverside. Alicia, I miss you!
Anonymous said…
Wow...old friends are interesting. Several years ago before I left for Taiwan, I went to see an old friend in Seattle, my brother lived there as well so it was good timing. Its amazing how much we've changed, yet how little. My husband thought she was superficial, and in some ways she is...considering she cut off our friendship because I wasn't cool enough.

But the one friend I wanted to catch up with, I found her on myspace, and we've changed so much we don't have anything to talk about...

Its so fortunate to meet up with old friends that you can still connect with!
Anonymous said…
Isn't it funny how you always think you look worse than you do -your still the same beautiful girl it's just now your self esteem and assurance has caught up to you physical beauty
Mes Deux Cents said…
Hi Liz,

Oh my, this topic was made for me. Firstly, I went to four different high schools (long story) and I've lived in five different states. So I have dozens of people that I've lost touch with.

A few times a week something will remind me of a particular person and I wonder where they are and who they have become. It's a bittersweet kind of thing. Because the memories of most of these lost friends are good ones but I wish we had kept in touch.

You are very fortunate to have rekindled your friendship with Jane (one of my favorite names). Enjoy!

Thanks
Sundry said…
It's amazing you should bring this up... Just last week I made myself the goal of calling one person a day for seven days. I realized that I let trepidation settle in...Is it the right time? Do they still want to know me?

But it's so good to stay connected! After the seven days I found it easier a few days later to make that call that I'd been for some reason putting off to the friend who's back in town.

Turns out, she reads my blog and feels like we're chatting all the time (though she doesn't leave comments.) And another friend called to ask if she can come visit in January. Of course!!!

Just because I live in the boonies doesn't mean I have to lose touch.
Liz Dwyer said…
Heart,
I wonder if folks think about me as well. I suppose it's only natural to think about folks we've been friends with. Then again, there are certainly people I'd love to forget exist!

Angela,
LOL at "walking puffer fish"! You are too funny. I sort of feel that way today.

The stories about your two friends are so beautiful. The other night someone was telling me how important it is to be very specific about what you're praying for...so maybe if you pray to be reconnected to her, somehow it'll happen. And if it doesn't, maybe there's a reason for that.

And I got your email. I'll reply in a hot second!

Gyamfua,
I have had that thing happen where I've changed so much that I have almost nothing in common with the person I reconnected with. But, usually that happens with people who were more of a casual acquaintance than a real friend. So, in that case I found that in a weird way the reconnection did give me some feeling of resolution. Maybe it made me feel like it was okay that I lost touch with the person!

Cyndee,
Aww, that's why I love you because we both know I was not a cute teenager! LOL! Now go buy a plane ticket and get yourself out here to see me! Or else I'm going to sick Toussaint on you! He has a mean left hook...

MDC,
You've definitely had more than your share of having to say goodbye to friends...why four different high schools? You'll have to write about that on your blog. I'm so curious.

Sundry,
That's the neatest goal ever. I also have that fear that I'll reach out to someone and they'll say, "Um, who are you? I don't remember you!" or else they'll be super cold on the phone, telling me through their tone of voice that they'd be happy to hear that I'd caught a staph infection or something.

And you know, for some folks I grew up with in the Midwest, LA might as well be China/the boonies! Or else when they hear that I live out here, it's all, "So how is that? Is everybody crazy there?" LOL!
Tirzah said…
As Jane's little sister, I can relate to wanting to be just like her. She's fantastic. But what you don't know, Liz, is that I felt the same way about you. You always looked so put together and beautiful to me. In our threesome (you, me and Jane), I was the ugly duckling.

My sister asked me the other day, "When did you become yourself?" and I've been thinking that it was when I could finally look in the mirror and love who I saw looking back at me and I no longer compared her to others.

You are beautiful, Liz!

And by the way...it was in MY room that you unleashed all of those oranges (probably why Jane has no recollection of it). I think it STILL smells like oranges to this day! :) Don't worry, you were forgiven a very long time ago.
Jameil said…
yay!!! such good times! i can't wait to reunite w/my girls this weekend.
Ian Lidster said…
To me a true friend is one you can meet up with again after having been apart for a long time, and just pick up where you left off. True friendship, like true love, is unconditional and puts no demands on either party. It just 'is' A really interesting number of thoughts, my friend. I think you also raise a telling point when you suggest we have there friends we do at different times because that is the person we needed at that time.
I agree there is nothing better than getting together with an old friend and catching up.

nice photo!
Liz Dwyer said…
Tirzah,
It was your room where I had the orange incident? EEK!

In all seriousness, what you wrote totally made me get teary eyed. I can't believe you thought you were an ugly duckling! You were always absolutely lovely and you were so creative and a runner too! And me "put together"? Gosh, I guess it's all a matter of perception, and if we don't see ourselves a certain way, it doesn't matter if others do. Love you, Tirzah!

Jameil,
You are definitely going to have a good time. I can't wait to read all about it and the outfits! ;)

Ian,
Oh yes, the unconditional nature of a true friendship. My whole life I've had such an issue with the whole notion of unconditional love. I think there's a part of me that believes people are sort of incapable of it. We can only aspire to love unconditionally. But, as I get older, I'm not so sure I really think that anymore.

NYC/CR,
Definitely a wonderful thing to connect with folks. It makes me wonder what the future holds!
Anonymous said…
Red jeans! Isn't it funny how we remember those kinds of things? I love it.
Liz Dwyer said…
Mojan,
I know! I loved those jeans and I tried to get my mom to buy me some just like them and she said no! Now that I'm older, what would I look like with some red jeans on? LOL!
Liz Dwyer said…
West,
Yeah, I do too!
Anonymous said…
People come and go that's for sure. I found an old "best" friend on MySpace, but he wanted nothing to do with me. I was alright with it though. These days I prefer to keep past homies in the past.
Liz Dwyer said…
Keith,
And sometimes, those folks from the past definitely need to stay there. They can bring way too much drama to the present.
Anonymous said…
and speaking of reconnecting... i saw your name on a comment on someone else's blog and it rung a bell, and i wondered, "is that the liz dwyer i knew when i was a kid from baha'i conferences and stuff?" i followed the link to your blog and sure enough. glad to hear you're doing well. and it was cool to see the picture of jane, whom i haven't seen in forever. god bless the internet.
Liz Dwyer said…
Aeric,
Oh my goodness it's been a long time! How are you? I'm so glad you stopped by and said hello. Come often and drop me an email to let me know how you're doing.

And I agree. I love the internet!

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