No two friends are the same.  Each has his or her own gift for us.  When we expect one friend to have all we need, we will always be hypercritical, never completely happy with what he or she does have.

One friend may offer us affection, another may stimulate our minds, another may strengthen our souls.  The more able we are to receive the different gifts our friends have to give us, the more able we will be to offer our own unique but limited gifts.   Thus, friendships create a beautiful tapestry of love.

Henri Nouwen

This past week I had lunch with a friend. We had spent a couple of hours together, facing the ocean, sharing our souls, with Godde’s own presence weaving in and out of our stories. Later, she forwarded me the message above. I loved the idea that I am woven into her tapestry as she is in mine.

Henri Nouwen’s reflection started me thinking of the women friends throughout my life. I went back to pre-prekinder days and proceeded from there. I remember having made a gratitude list while reading Stephen Levine’s One Year to Live, when cancer clouds had started gathering on my horizon. I do not know what happened to this list, so I cannot compare it to the one I just wrote up.

This time, I ended up with a rather long list, out of which a few names stood out, special women whom I remember with joy or gratitude; each friend was or is profoundly different. Simultaneously, the name, sometimes only a face, brought back an era, a time of my life which sometimes seems to belong to another lifetime.

Surely because I am older and grayer, and more into prayer and contemplation than I was ten, fifteen years ago, the idea of praying for all these women on my list came to my mind. Praying for each one of them, wherever they are, some of them no longer with us; praying also for those times, some happy, some so very turbulent or sad. Lifting each one of them in the light and love of the Trinity for a blessing and a moment of unexpected grace, a grace I wish for them in thanks for their presence in my life, in my very own tapestry.

In Her name.


Photo: found here