Old Friends, Auld Lang Syne

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” – Thomas Aquinas

Stirling Castle, Scotland

Today I was going through some photos and came across a bunch from my second trip to Scotland; this was the trip where I met my friend Mr. Murray. Looking at those pictures, I was transported back to that place and time, feeling the feelings that I felt at that split second, captured and frozen in time. There was so much that I now know was real and true happiness; a feeling that all was right in my world and what a gloriously beautiful world it was! That really isn’t much of a surprise when you consider that I was on vacation in Scotland with someone who was not frightened off by my magnificent, mostly manic mind and in fact, seemed to enjoy it for what it is and always will be, which is some shade of interesting. Now, it’s not for the faint of heart and it’s certainly not everyone’s taste, but this guy seemed to actually, genuinely accept it and me. When I think about it now, it feels like an amazing dream where I was incredibly happy (not manic) and felt free, body and soul.

All good things must come to an end and this was no exception. Just short of a year from the time we met, all communication ceased and when I inquired as the welfare of Mr. Murray, I was told he was fine and would contact me when was ready, or something to that effect. All I really heard was he was fine, then the racing tide of words and questions came forth – if he was fine, why hadn’t he written me back to tell me so? What did I do wrong? I fired up the old brain, re-read the previous emails, trying to find where I had misstepped, where I had said the wrong word or maybe shouldn’t have said anything at all. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t understand why my every day moment of happiness, seeing his name appear in my inbox, was suddenly and without explanation taken from me. I cried, I raged, I wrote and wrote and my words and emails went down a black hole yet no reply emerged, not even an echo to let me know the words were given voice. I prayed, I made promises and bargains with God, if only He would let me know.

I still don’t know and I don’t blame God, Mr. Murray and (finally) not myself. What I do know is that we all are given gifts, angels on Earth and everyday people doing the work of angels. Sometimes it’s for a day, sometimes only a minute, but for however long we have that person, that angel, that gift in human form, it’s never long enough. I think that maybe that’s because if we have something for a long time we tend to take it/them for granted; they are no longer considered a gift, just something that’s always there when we need it, like Starbucks or the remote for the TV or your smartphone. It’s only when we lose or are about to lose someone that we realize how precious they are, how much they really mean to us. We are able to wipe away their faults, forget the little hurts and incidents of wounded pride because they are soon to be gone.

I guess I just never really thought that the day would come when I wouldn’t get to hear from Mr. Murray and by the time I realized that once in a lifetime connection had been severed, it was too late to say how much he mattered to me, how much he had given me long before we met face to face at an airport far, far from what I considered home. That’s the only kind of lesson that really sticks with me, painful and hard learned. Check off another lesson learned, the Universe ever the teacher, bringing me lessons I may not want to learn, but need to in order to grow and evolve.

I realize now I have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to people in my life and I will endeavor to let all of you know how much you mean to me, how much you’ve given meaning to my life. You’ve given me wings to fly away and love to keep me from flying too close to the sun. You’ve given me the security of knowing I will always have a home to come back to, no matter how far or how long I’m gone. You have given me handfuls of hope, simply by helping to see myself as you see me, without all the imperfections and flaws I see. These are all gifts I know I may never be able to repay, but it certainly won’t stop me from trying.

As for Mr. Murray, I will cherish the memories, remember his words of wisdom and will not hesitate to tell those who are dear to me how much I love them, how much I appreciate them and how they are and always will be the greatest gift of all.

Consider yourself informed, dear friend. You are loved, valued and treasured, truly and for always and ever.

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