Sometimes it takes an insightful friend to change an “Of course I won’t! Are you serious?” into a difficult “yes”. My friend Georgia helped me to see clearly during a difficult time with another friend, Teresa.
Teresa and I had been roommates and best friends for many years, though eventually we’d moved to different parts of the country. We worked for the same research organization, but at one point her choices and actions hurt me immensely and I emotionally pulled away…far away.
Many years before, when we were in college together, we were more like sisters. Though we lived together in the dorm, our parental homes were close by, and I’d often visit her family with her as she did with mine. Her parents were like second parents to me, and I remember many meals shared with laughter and discussions around the table as well as preparing meals with her mom in the kitchen.
Teresa’s and my friendship had deteriorated after “the event” so we talked only when necessary and kept the topics to work related matters. We were cordial, but not warm, which was due to the fact that we had to work together. Fortunately, our organization was based in Chicago and we lived 2000 miles apart, so we communicated by email and, on rare occasions, a phone call. When her mom died, I heard about it through a company announcement, along with scant details as to the date and town in Texas where her funeral would be held.
When I shared this with my dear friend, Georgia, she asked, “Are you going to go to the funeral?” “Of course not,” I replied. “It’s too far, plane fare would cost too much, and Teresa and I aren’t really friends anymore.”
Then Georgia said something that I’ve remembered and applied not only to this event but at other times as well. She said, “This is one of those times you only have one chance to get it right. That’s it. It may go well, or it might not, but it could make a big difference later on. You don’t want to regret not trying. This is one of those times when you really should show up.” I had to grudgingly admit she was right. She could see what I couldn’t. Though it would be one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, I chose to attend her mom’s funeral.
I didn’t tell Teresa I was coming. I called different churches in the Texas town where the funeral was to be held until I finally found the right one and got the details as to time and place. I made a motel and car reservation and bought the plane ticket, and the day before the funeral I flew out of Portland, trepidation filling my heart.
The day of the funeral I drove to the large church, which was filled to capacity. Teresa and her family were nowhere in sight, but pews at the front were saved for them.
Just before the service was to start they filed in and she sat down with her husband and children about ten pews in front of me. My nerves were on edge as this was the first time I’d seen her in person for quite a long time. As far as I could tell, there were no other people from our organization in attendance.
I watched Teresa from behind, and couldn’t detect any emotion, but I knew she loved her mom very much and was extremely close with her. I knew she must be filled with grief though I couldn’t detect crying.
Toward the end of the service the people in each pew filed down to walk in front of the open casket for one final viewing of her mom. Heart pounding, I joined the people in my pew as we slowly made our way down to the front. When I was even with Teresa’s pew, she looked up and our eyes met. She was so moved that she burst into tears and grabbed her husband’s arm!
Afterward she embraced me with smiles and tears and said that I’d have to come stay at their home with them; no more Motel 6. Because of that reluctant “yes” our friendship was revived and over the years we’ve visited each other in our respective states many times. I’m forever grateful to my wise friend, Georgia, for being connected to the Light and helping me see the way.