The Miracles of Friendship

“Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.”  –  Saint Augustine 

I have had a rough first six months of 2020.  Really, the whole world has.  Huge political upheavals and unrest.  A global pandemic.  Division over everything including to wear a piece of cloth over your face or not.  We all deserve a break from this craziness.  To all of you who are reading this, you have made it and deserve a huge pat on the back (and maybe a donut) for making it through.  For me personally, I have also in the past month had a dose of my infusion for Multiple Sclerosis, and suffered an unpleasant side effect of it by dealing with a brutal bout of shingles.  I discussed all of that in my last post so moving on from that.  I have really been seeking ways to find ease in my life.  That is the word I chose to work on this year in January.  Really universe?  You certainly felt I I was up to a challenge.  I have been trying to find that ease in solitude, working in my garden, and trying to restore my sense of a creative practice.  I managed to find it this weekend.  Not because more areas are starting to mandate mask wearing.  But because the two beautiful angels in the picture with me above showed up in my sunroom.

I have been becoming quite alright with spending a lot of time at home as of late.  Quite an accomplishment for someone like myself who is a huge extrovert.  To the point, that it has been a little bit disturbing to me when I actually took a second to analyze my habits.  I maybe go out once a week to go to a grocery store or a garden centre.  On an ambitious week of outings.  I have been really ok with being home most of the time.  So when my friend, Michelle texted me a few weeks ago to find out if she could come out to visit with another friend Jenn, I said yes tentatively.  It was a gentle offer as they knew my health worries and said they understood if I was not comfortable with this.  I said I was definitely alright with it if they came to my house to hang out in the sunroom because I am not going out to restaurants yet.  She said that was what they wanted to do anyways.  A week before they were supposed to come, I found out I had shingles.  I of course phoned Michelle to let her know and to inform her of what I heard about my level of contagiousness from my doctor.  I told her it was up to them to decide if they wanted to still come.  They both said yes.  All was going to happen.

It is really not surprising that these two ladies were the ones that were coming to visit me while I had shingles.  I met these two 20 years ago while we were all living in Taiwan teaching English.  Being a foreigner in a place like Taiwan, makes you bond to friends quickly.  Everything is so strange when you first get there, that you cling to anything familiar.  Add on to that, that after I had been there for 2 months, I had a serious scooter accident that put me in the hospital for 2 weeks with a head injury.  This is the reason I referred to these ladies as angels at the beginning of my post.  Because I was a foreigner when I was hospitalized, and that fact that I could not speak the language and the nurses could not speak mine, I needed to have someone with me 24 hours a day.  They also had to supply food for me.  The Taiwanese staff from my school did up a schedule for my hospital supervision.  The Taiwan staff covered all of the daytime shifts because the English teachers were working then.  Working more because my classes also had to be covered.  The overnight shifts were then scheduled at the hospital with me amongst the English staff.  Keep in mind, I had only known these girls for 2 months.  They gladly (or didn’t let me know if it was otherwise) came to cover a night shift with me sleeping when they could after doing a full shift of teaching during the day.  I cannot imagine this ever happening living in Canada with friends I had met 2 months ago.  We played cards, got to know each other better and laughed a lot over those 2 weeks.  It is for this reason that it was not surprising to me when I told my company coming that I had shingles, they still wanted to come with our history.

They came bearing snacks from the farmers market, games to play, and lots of life stories to share from their lives.  I had not seen Jenn in 8 years so there was so much to catch up on.  At first when they arrived, I was a bit nervous because I have not had much company since the pandemic started.  However, after a very short period of time, I forgot all about the pandemic and was able to look back over memories of my life 20 years ago.  I cannot believe how much fun I had with them.  My stomach hurt the next day, not from my shingles spots, but from laughing.  They stayed until just before midnight and we sat outside the whole time.

Apparently, all I needed to find ease was a visit from some friends from my past life, as I call my time in Taiwan, to shine their bright lights and help me feel better.  Thank you so much Michelle and Jenn.

Wishing you all to find some connection to great people in your life to brighten your day.

Christine

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