Thursday, July 23, 2009

Best Friends Forever!

Wikipedia briefly defines FRIENDSHIP as ‘a cooperative and supportive behavior between two or more people. In this sense, the term connotes a relationship which involves mutual knowledge, esteem, affection, and respect, along with a degree of rendering service in times of need or crisis.’

In my 47 years, I have been fortunate enough to acquire an amazing smorgasbord of genuine friendships. Growing up on a typical one-way street in the borough of Queens, our playmates consisted of whomever lived on the block. Unlike today’s structured sports and extracurricular activities where parents are driving kids to play-dates all over town, we were limited to finding friends just beyond the back door. For me, there was only one or two kids of my age group. Often, I would wind up as the entertaining ring leader of my younger triplet sisters, but mostly, I played alone. With an active imagination, I would create fictitious friends, some of which I gave names. In a sense, I was my own best friend.

When I was in second grade I met a girl who would later become my dearest lifelong friend. She was the complete opposite of me in looks and family background. She, a tall Italian girl with dark blackish-brown thick hair that was always pulled back into a ponytail with a barrette or bow. Me, a fair Irish lass with thin, straggly hair, cut in a short pixie style that my mother insisted I wear. Her almond shaped eyes are dark brown with olive skin to match. Mine are bright blue and pale. Rosemarie had a stylish wardrobe consisting of frilly dresses accompanied by matching shoes. As one of six kids, my fashion statement was hand-me-downs, handmade outfits by my mother or less-than-fad-store-boughts. And my worn out sneakers flapped when I walked. My new found diva went to a special studio for tap dance, a luxury my stepfather would not indulge in. Although he did let me hang out in his workshop to learn a thing or two about carpentry.

Nevertheless, with all our differences, Roe and I played famously together. I suppose she intrigued me and I amused her. She lived literally a stone’s throw away from the elementary school. Our relationship blossomed with frequent after school get-togethers and sleepovers at her house. We would delight with our Barbies for hours.

One silly story, we recall with laughter today, is when I took all my Barbies and doll paraphernalia in two big shopping bags and walked for about two miles to meet her at her father’s luncheonette. It took me quite a long time to get there, maybe two hours, and when I finally arrived I was exhausted. So much so we never even played with the doll stuff. What I do remember fondly is her dad cooking us up hamburgers with French fries topped with ketchup and a having a classic Coca-Cola to wash it all down.

Rosemarie Aguanno was (is) my first real best friend.

It is unbelievable to me sometimes to think how this person has remained a powerful force in my life for almost forty years. Our lives run parallel, not always in constant contact, but energetically we are knowingly infused in our eternal Oneness. Each being there for each other during joyful and trying times. We’ve experienced the death of loved ones and the birth of new life. Days of sheer madness with unbearable emotional upheavals and moments of bliss too profound for words.

Our special bond is without a doubt a Spiritual one. It’s amusing to me that we are two Catholic-raised girls confused about God who together found the Holy Spirit, not in a church, but within each other. We have matured together from innocent little girls to woman of wisdom in light. Though we physically live hundreds of miles apart, there is no distance between us. We have an authentic relationship based on unconditional love and respect.

Of all the people I am blessed to call my friend, I highlight Roe here because it seems this precious union we share tells an insightful tale. It speaks of higher purpose and reveals a bigger picture about life’s miraculous journey. When you pull back the lens, you can clearly see how our mutual life experiences are serendipitous. All a wonderfully Divine adventure to remember who we really are--here and now. Isn’t that what friends are for?

My connection with Rosemarie epitomizes the meaning of the word friendship: a relationship which involves mutual knowledge, esteem, affection, and respect, along with a degree of rendering service in times of need or crisis.

What I realize is that my investment in cultivating a genuine friendship as a child has ultimately made me quite prosperous in my authentic relationships as an adult. Let’s just say I have more best friends than I have fingers and toes. I am rich, indeed!

In gratitude and love for all my BFFs,


P.S. Since both our parents are passed, finding old photos of when we were kids is going to be a task. If we find one, I will post it later.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Do you want to be right or be kind?

Misunderstandings are like flicking a lit match into a dampened forest. Sometimes they just smolder out and other times they catch like wildfire and before you know it, everyone and everything in its path is burnt to a crisp.

Your words, your actions, and your reactions can be a blessing to bring joy or a weapon to cause harm. We are all guilty of saying something we shouldn't have said or behaving in less than favorable ways to others. The important lesson here is to recognize where you went astray and to make a conscious effort to change how you respond to others going forward.

"To err is human, to forgive is Divine." ~Alexander Pope

Everyday is an opportunity to rise above past grievances, to forgive others and yourself, and to make a shift toward the greater good for all. As the saying goes, "Do you want to be right or kind." The choice is yours.

With compassion,

P.S. Awareness is key. Even if you lose your cool and throw daggers as your reaction to a disagreement, just the ability to notice what you did is a step in the right direction. Be easy with yourself, apologize for your behavior and then make every effort to redeem your ways.