In 1689, the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho, while on a ‘walking tour’, described his journey. He wrote, “Each day is a journey and the journey itself home.’ I believe our trip through life, daily and cumulative, must be made one day at a time and that each day is made lighter by the presence of one true friend on the path.
I belileve special friends come into our lives, unexpectedly, at just the right point in time, joining our journeys together. One autumn evening I was at a picnic with a bonfire on a farm outside the city. While we were engaged in watching toddlers play in the peacefulness of the surroundings, a stranger spoke to me. This young woman asked if we possibly belonged to the same church. Our journey began.
I believe a friend walks with one daily. We would phone each other and at the mere vocalization of each other’s name, we’d completely dissolve into laughter. At day’s end she was my release, and I, hers. We would laugh for long minutes. I marveled at these wordless conversations. The more I laughed with her, the more I laughed each day and the more people I met with whom I could laugh. There were times my face ‘hurt’ from laughing.
Basho took someone with him on his voyage through the rough terrain of Japan. I believe a true friend is the companion who walks with me, not in my footsteps but alongside me in the course of the time we have together. It might be a lifetime.
We traveled together. Through my friend’s eye I saw the landscape, the beauty of the setting sun, the greenery of nature, the order of a formal garden. She took me to flower shows and I began to ‘smell’ the roses.
I went with her to see the Dead Sea Scrolls and eventually ended up at a seed emporium. She knew everything about turning seed into beauty. I was in foreign terrain and I learned to speak the language from her.
I believe friends share special moments. We celebrated Christmas with a Tea and her wonderful Angel Tree, filled only with Angel Ornaments. I once went with her on the coldest, snowiest day of December to the Amana Colonies to look for THE special ornament of the year. It was a relentless search and we laughed our way home.
I believe friends support us also on our spiritual growth path. I first experienced walking the Labyrinth with my friend. Together we took a class in understanding the Labyrinth and ways to experience the walk.
I bellieve Basho was right over 300 years ago when he wrote about the essence of the journey being precisely a journey within, daily on the ‘trip’ of a lifetime. The essential friend relationship is my journey, daily, and reflects the changes my friend brought into my life.