|(Antelope Island scene looking past the Great Sale Lake to the Wasatch mountains)|
It wasn't surprising then to see her on my doorstep after I'd suffered a long illness and a traumatic experience. Others had asked, " what can we do for you? " smiled and then returned to their own little worlds. Here was Alice, standing on my porch with a shovel in one hand and a plant in the other.
" You're coming outside, " she said emphatically. " You need some sunshine and we need to plant this start I brought from my garden. " The plant was one I'd admired some weeks before.
You didn't argue with Alice. You didn't want to. She had a way about her that said, " I'm here for you. Let's work on this thing together. "
We dug, we planted, and we chatted about everything but what was troubling me. She never nosed, she never snooped. She gave me the ball, and let me carry it where I wanted to go.
She helped me more than she will ever know. She gave me the love and support I needed to deal with some difficult circumstances. She helped heal my heart and soul just by being Alice.
(Photo -- view of Bear Lake in Garden City, UT)
When we moved away from Phoenix, I wept like a baby as I gave her my final hug. She was one neighbor I would miss forever. We stayed in contact for over 20 years, but the distance and our lives soon became a living memory. My gratitude still remains.
Many people come in and out of our lives. The good ones stay. Other friendships are not meant to last: the brief encounters on an airplane flight, the people we chat with on vacation, the people who share in the trauma of a tragic event. Some friendships are meant to last forever, and some of them aren't. Who can measure what any of these people bring into our lives?
When my own life was in a downward spiral, I never regretted the people I met along the way who made me laugh, who taught me something I didn't know, who opened my eyes to see the possibilities that were waiting there. These people became the threads that formed the warp and the woof of my character and my life. During that time, I learned that some people are just plain evil; but that most people are basically good, warts and all.
(Photo overlooking Bear Lake)
Through acquaintances and friendships, I discovered things about myself I never knew. Antique cars, for instance; I like everything about them, the hobby, the shows, the people. And jazz; I love the earthy vibes and rhythms, but I'm also enthralled at a symphony. I like to see a good play, and I'm enchanted by Shakespeare. All of the things I discovered about myself, I learned through the people around me; my likes, my tastes, my values.
People enrich our lives and help us realize we're all human. All in need of grace and forgiveness. My favorite saying is: " there but for the grace of God go I. " Historians don't know for certain who said this, but the wisdom remains.
Good friends are the ones who make you want to try harder and to live better. But they accept you as you are with all of your baggage, weaknesses and flaws.
(Photos -- at St. Armonds Florida beach & resort)