Yesterday I was writing an email to Felicia and all of a sudden it dawned on me - most of our friendship, which on January 7th will be 10 years, has been long distance. And I consider Felicia one of my closest friends. I don't consider her, she is one of my closest friends.
I was at the NJ campus, when I saw these big boxes arrive with a name Felicia Oland, on them. And then the girl herself came - tall, skinny and hot! Who would have thought then that she will have also a big, compassionate and caring heart?! I invited her to go to breakfast one morning and that was the beginning. Only half a year later Felicia moved to a campus in Philly, I stayed behind. Then I moved to SD and she found work in Philly. Then we both got married. Now she is in the US, we are in Australia, we are half a world apart and we are still closest friends. How is that possible? I thought that friendships are times SPENT together. And things DONE together and things ACCOMPLISHED together. But apparently that is not the key to a good friendship.
Once Felicia had a crush on a guy and I started going out with him. That is said to be a breaker of friendships but it didn't. We had a good talk, we got through it and in the end we were both happy that neither of us ended up dating him. People say that time and distance can break friendships. I can honestly say that we are as good friends as we were back in 1998. In fact, I think we are better friends because there is history in our friendship. It's not like it's always been peaches and roses. I am sure there were plenty of things along the way that were a bit annoying, like me constantly looking for assurance that my butt is not looking too big in these jeans. I am not talking about just one night.
I think we have been honest with each other along the way. That's important. Honest but gentle. You can be honest with someone but take bites out of them. There is also the kind of honesty where you tell the truth but the other person doesn't feel crushed afterward. And there has never been pretense. When we have ran out of topics to talk about on the phone, it's totally cool to hang up - we don't have to drag it out. Felicia has a gift of letting people know she is thinking of them. She sends unexpected packages for no reason, cards, emails. I always wonder where she gets the energy to keep up with it all. Another important ingredient in this friendship is knowing that even if something has been said that might be hurtful, it has not been done on purpose. I don't know if it is called "believing in the other persons best" or what it is but I have seen friendships fall apart when people don't trust that the other person didn't mean anything hurtful and a small thing grows into a monster. And above all else, I think that this friendship is not based in just things done correctly or incorrectly. It has another dimension - our faith. I really believe that as two people being connected in the Spirit, there is more than just the right words or times or compassion.
But I have saved the best part to the end. Felicia is the reason why I am married to Neil. After all, she is the crazy, brave Romanian who went to www.christianmingles.com and met her husband and told me that I have to go there to "just try it out". It was the best advice ever!
To me, saying 10 years, seems so long. But it has gone by so fast. Always knowing that I can pick up the phone and ring up. Even if it's 3 am.