Thursday, November 26, 2020

Pure Gold

One of the first things my sleepy eyes focused on this morning is a text message. Just the notification of the text message that flashes when you pick up your phone. It simply said, Happy Thanksgiving! No gif, no picture, just simple words. Then I saw it was from my BFF from 53rd Street. 

Fifty Third Street was my universe. This tree lined street of mixed style houses and diverse neighbors shaped my existence. It is hard for people from other universes to understand how one city block can be your world. But it was my world. 

 Diverse neighbors wove a tapestry of friendship and understanding. They also fought and squabbled as they dealt with all the complexities of life. To paint that world as idyllic robs the world of its reality and truth. I've written about all these things before. I've written about the horror of abuse, the misunderstandings, the fears as well as the joys and triumphs. 

Recently, a voice from the past has emerged into my present world. Someone from the universe. Someone I never would have thought I'd enjoy sharing frequent emails with as we ask - what happened to so and so? Or, do you remember? Or what was the name of _____ ? It's been pleasant and a gift. 

My strongest memory of this boy from across the street, the older brother of a very dear friend, is that he teased me. I grew up as an only child so I didn't have the gift of brotherly tormenting. Now this voice of the past is gifting me with many precious memories. 

Today is Thanksgiving. The urge to write elludes me too much of late. I still have a book to finish. Alas, it will get done. But today I'm thinking about how thankful I am for friends. I was thinking about that old song I learned as a child:

Make new friends but keep the old, One is Silver and the Other Gold. 

I'm thankful for the BFF who thought of me early this morning. Memories of her always bring such joy to my heart. I longed for half my life to find her and finally I did - now she's a text or phone call away.

I'm thankful for the girl across the street who is also a BFF. We don't interact much but I see her face and beautiful quilted creations. I know I can reach out to her. I am thankful for her friendship and hours and hours of play in her basement or on a street corner. 

I'm thankful for her brother. A voice from the past to share precious memories and find out what our lives brought. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the triumphant. I'm thankful for his memory - as he shares with me the tales of our 53rd Street world. I'm thankful to learn from him more about the depth of his mother's faith. I think of his mother often and her insistence of "magic words" (please and thank you). I'm thankful she was strong enough through faith to trust God through her own struggles and tragedies. 

I'm so thankful for 53rd Street. I'm thankful for a precious but complex childhood. It wasn't without pain and sorrow. But it was my universe and it is so nice to visit those day with my old friends. Make new friends but keep the old. I am thankful I am keeping the oldest of friends.