Sunday, October 28, 2007

Anatomy of a Friendship

Just looking at this picture makes me happy. When I first moved to Montana I was ill prepared for the amount of energy it would take to make new friends. I had lived in Georgia for most of my life, surrounded by people I'd known since childhood and immersed in a culture that would invite the Unibomber in and make sure he had a full belly before he left. Southern hospitality is not a myth and I'm sure I had that "deer in the headlights" look for a couple of years when my sincere attempts at friendship were met with the innate distrust that most Montanans feel for outsiders.

I met Roberta at a yoga class. I was suffering from life at the time, having not yet taken the first of the Four Noble Truths to heart: Life is suffering. I sensed the possiblity of a friendship with Roberta, but had no real premonition of how important that friendship would become or how deeply it would penetrate my heart. Our relationship has been a slow affair, building upon our mutual interest in meditation, the dharma, truth and beauty.

Roberta had just moved back to Montana after spending many years in spiritual community on the East Coast studying under Joseph Goldstein. I'm reminded of the saying that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. That Roberta can maintain the delicate balance of teacher and friend is just one of her many gifts.

Two years ago I moved onto the same street as Roberta. It was purely accidental - if you believe in tremendously auspicious accidents. The summer of 2006 I drank the evenings away and became deeply involved in my own sad story. Roberta never wavered in her unconditional love or her detachment from said story. She would only be involved with me. The me under all the crap that I had accumulated, the me with no stories, the true me. As I observed her integrity and profound love, I, too, began to detach from what was unimportant.

In the years since moving to Montana, I've developed many, many sacred friendships. But the first one remains special. In case you don't recognize her, that vampire on last night's post is Roberta. Did I mention she's tremendous fun?? We dressed up as vampires and went to see the local theatre's performance of Dracula last night. We could've been two 10-year olds playing with mom's makeup we had so much fun.

Sometimes I'm quite sure I'm the luckiest person on the planet.


claud said...

What a lovely post, Angela. I was watching a bit of Frankenstein this morning and he gives a beautiful little speech about how he needs only one friend (he has none, of course, and is asking the doc to get him a woman) to have the love inside him triumph over the rage. It's a very touching scene and I've never seen it before, now I'll have to rent it -- but Frank's right and you're right, too -- connection and love are where it's all at.


Angela said...

Stay tuned, Claude. I think I'm going to declare it friendship week on the blog. You never know who might turn up. I have pictures. :)


Kikipotamus said...

What a beautiful face she has. You can see the unconditional love you speak of there. Also thank you for the link which took me to info about Vipassana and Insight Meditation.

Journey Through Life said...

What a wonderful tribute to a dear friend. You are indeed fortunate!

Anonymous said...

All I can say is "back at ya, girlfriend!" Your post actually made me cry a bit, just about the great wellspring of joy, fun, and endless blessings that mysteriously begin to unfold when two humans come together in deep trust, vulnerability, and real love and appreciation for who each other truly is when we're willing to remove all our weird hats and strange disguises. And then put them all back on again (re those amazing vampire photos!) Gosh. And it just goes on and on, thank god(dess!)

So good to finally understand this fundamental matter about giving and receiving and giving and receiving......... My experience is that you inspire me to be inspiring, and that inspires you to inspire me and everyone etc. Amen, Sister!

With the kinda love that we All love!

Your very good friend,

lunarmusings said...

Sisterhood is such profound and sacred gift... especially if much laughter is involved!

lunarmusings said...

Sisterhood is such profound and sacred gift... especially if much laughter is involved!

John Eaton said...

Sweet story, Angela.

Getcher vamp on, girl. :)

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Julie Pippert said...

What a great story of friendship.

Using My Words

Jane said...

Thank God for wonderful friends. I was thinking just yesterday how I would never have made it through my divorce and the frightening period of time following it without my friends. To this day, my best friends are a daily supportive part of my life. I only need a handful of people whom I really trust. It's the ones who love us unconditionally that matter the most.