Turtle's Progress

Friday, April 07, 2006


Yes, I found my best friend in a Goodwill Store (sounds like it could be a CW song!) Our three year olds were in the same preschool class and while they were in school we would run errands and “thrift”. We saw each other often in the hallway waiting for the children to be let out but never really spoke. Until that one day… California had experienced a small earthquake while the kids were at school – just a small swaying, but I wondered how they had fared. As I was leaving the Goodwill to head over the school, Joyce walked in. We looked at each other, smiled, and one of us said, “You come here too?!” That was the beginning. Here is a recent picture of my buddy with her husband, Bill.

Perhaps the best way to explain what this friendship has meant to me through the years is to share the letter I sent as part of the 50th birthday tribute and celebration Bill organized for her.

Dear Joyce,

I have thought and thought since these sheets arrived from Bill and wondered how to put into words what you have meant to me since we met in the spring of 1984. I’m still not sure what direction this will take but have decided to just ramble on some about you and us and what it means to have a best friend…

You have meant more to me than any friend I have had before or since we met. In the beginning I can remember us trying to play “catch up” with our past lives. After all we were in our early 30’s then and had to share and tell about all of our previous years. Only by knowing where we had each been and what we had been through could we possibly understand where we were going or the turns our lives would take. And so in those early years, our children tolerated our many hours on the phone sharing every detail of our past lives. Little did we know that this phone time was preparation for our present friendship where distance now makes it necessary to carry on by phone.

And do I ever look forward to those phone calls. I love hearing your positive voice – there always seems to be a laugh in the sound of your words. Something I have come to love and appreciate about you – your sense of humor! I have often made the comment to others that you can make me laugh like no one I have ever known. I love your ability to see the silly in the every day things in life. I feel that my own sense of humor has become so much better just by being around you – I’m more able to laugh at myself and to find humor in just about any situation because of your influence. The gift of laughter is one you share without reserve and I love you for that!!

But you also have a serious side… a part of you that listens, and understands, and provides insight and advice. A part of you that I have depended on and sought out on many occasions over the past few years. You have listened and provided much needed solace and advice as I agonized over the end of my marriage, the uncertainty of dating, the fear of being alone, the longing for someone to love … and now you listen with obvious joy when I tell you about “my Tom” and the love we share. You have an uncanny ability to lovingly let me know what I need to know even when it’s not necessarily what I want to hear. You are a loving spirit who seeks only the best for those you care about.

And that brings me to another side of you that I love. Though you are not part of any organized religion, you are the most spiritual person I have ever met. You seem to know without a doubt that there is a bigger reality beyond this world and that sometimes those two worlds meet here on earth. What may be fate to some, you see as a spiritual plan. I certainly feel that way about our meeting. I think the Lord knew that I need you when we first met but that I would need you even more as the years went by. Our friendship was not an accident but a Divine plan. I have seen the strength of your spirit when your father died, and as you dealt with your mother’s emotional distance. Your spiritual strength has helped you overcome the agonizing physical pain in your body, the depressing emotional pain in your heart, and the fear created by a newly discovered learning disability. I admire that strength and use it as a model in my own life. Just as your sense of humor has increased my own; your spiritual love has made me a more spiritual and loving person.

And so, my dear friend, as you are about to reach that half century mark, I want you to see it not as the number of years since your birth but to reflect on the number of lives you have so lovingly touched. For I know that just as you have made my life so much better by being my friend, you have done the same by being in the lives of so many others. You have been a wonderful wife, lover and friend to your “B”, a loving and supportive mother to Paul, a caring a concerned neighbor to all who have been fortunate enough to live near you, a considerate and thoughtful daughter-in-law to Annie, a patient and kind teacher to your lucky students, a role model to your co-workers, an understanding daughter to your mother, a fun-loving sister to your brother, a warm and gracious hostess to all who have entered your home… and a best friend to me – lucky lucky me!!


At 8:19 AM, Anonymous Joyce said...

Oh Terry,
Thank you for the loving words. I often open my 50th birthday binder and your letter is one of the most valued. Happy tears when reading it, and a reminder of what a faithful and loving friend that I have.
I love you, lots.

At 9:18 AM, Blogger erin said...

Don't we all wish we had a "Ms. Joyce"!

At 7:00 PM, Blogger lori said...

Your letters always make me cry!
You should write a book.


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