“Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in excellence; for these wish well alike to each other for good, and they are good in themselves.” Aristotle.
I can only understand and agree with this quote because in my lifetime I’ve had one such a perfect friend.
Lee came into my life at a time when the world I lived in had gone awry. Not only had I endured a great loss in the death of my child but at the same time I’d started on a new and bewildering spiritual journey. I have always known she was a God-send.
Twenty years my senior, she was a small Eurasian, with a temper that seemed to nest in her coarse, graying hair. I still chuckle to think how at odd times her hair stuck straight in the air when stirred by a puff of wind. Her green, oddly slanted eyes however, never looked mean when her gaze fastened to my face. She had the prettiest smile.
After thirty-five endearing years of friendship, I know for certain that we never had one quarrel.
I learned that with the speed of lightening, with one sharp glance into my world with those eyes, she knew everything before she stepped into my living room. Then we would sit and ponder the things that affected our days. Patiently, like a mother, she endured my inept attempt at clearing a pass through a rocky, unfamiliar terrain. Because of her spiritual maturity she quietly laid herself over the chasms of my doubts so I could cross over.
In my searching for stability and grasping for truth, I learned quickly, while she always stayed a mile ahead anticipating my stumbling. But she never failed to rescue me.
As the years passed I would hear her say at times things like, “I wondered what you meant that day when you said---.” In retrospect, when my passion had subsided, she would state her opinion if she disagreed.
She was with me when her husband died, when she became my suffering child. I held her hand and sat with her by the pond or walked the mile around it and when she could breathe again, she left. In every trial we were as one and mostly she would come to be with me. When I crushed my leg, when my husband died, she was there, faithful as an angel, which she was. She was to me the embodiment of Corinthians Chapter thirteen, the love chapter in the Bible. She said to me after twenty years, “I love you more than your husband, more than your parents, more than your children love you!” I knew she spoke those words to me from the heart of God.
At the end of her life, when steeped in the abyss of an illness that took away her memory, I visited her. As she lay in her bed, surrounded by us who loved her, I looked into those queer, amazing eyes and I thought she remembered me. Later, on my way home I knew the trip had been in vain. She couldn’t have remembered me. Weeks later, I had a call. Her present husband said, “Someone wants to talk to you.” Her voice chimed through the phone, clear as it had long ago.
“Lee I came to see you,” I said and held my breath.
“I know you did--,” and she went on to tell me some things we had talked about and who was there on that day. Then she said the sweetest words that still live in my heart. “Love never ends!”