The dew of little things

Matt and I enjoyed the refreshment of being with friends on a hot summer day.
With Jena and her brother Andy at the Michie Tavern, Monticello, July 2019

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”― Kahlil Gibran

I have always appreciated this particular passage from Gibran’s work, because it has proven true in my own life for as long as I can remember. Whether one is navigating a particularly difficult phase of life, or enjoying relatively happy years, no grand event or special occasion can surpass the simple pleasure of a heart-to-heart chat with a trusted and reliable friend. During times of grief and stress, such everyday sharing is an anchor for the soul.

Jena and I first connected through this blog. We quickly found that we shared much in common, including our faith, our love of writing in general and poetry in particular, and a special fondness for all things related to tea. Jena also is a gifted visual artist who takes the time to share some of her work with me via our digital correspondence, and we occasionally swap videos via Marco Polo, along with corresponding by postal mail.

Despite her exceptionally busy life as a teacher, writer, artist, wife, sister, daughter, and various leadership roles related to her professional talents, she manages to stay in close touch, encouraging me in countless thoughtful ways. She makes the effort to initiate contact with me at least as often as I reach out to her, so I don’t feel as if I’m the only one who has anything to gain from the friendship.  There’s a nice reciprocity to our exchanges, and that’s a trait that has been especially important to me in the years since Jeff’s death, when I’ve sometimes grown resentful of having to be the one doing all the asking of others.

Remarkably, though Jena lives in faraway Alaska, we have managed to be together in person once every year for the past three years, and even took a trip together. As others who connected by blogging have observed, when we get together face-to-face it is as if we have always known each other, because the foundation of the friendship is already in place. I guess that love of writing pays unexpected dividends sometimes!

I am so grateful that, whenever Jena is planning to come to the eastern USA for business reasons, she gives me plenty of notice so that we can plan times and places to get together. Our first such meeting came during a particularly difficult time after Jeff’s death, when it appeared that Matt was going to lose all of his disability services and supports, and I had no idea how we would cope.

“Refreshed” is a perfect description for how I felt after being able to meet Jena face to face for the first time, to chat and laugh and drink tea together in person after years of corresponding. The simple joy of sitting in a cafe together was a balm for all the trials and worries and grief. Sometimes, a little bit of lighthearted fun can go a long way to defeating despair.

Do you have friends who share their lives with you on a regular basis, adding to your joy and pulling you away from whatever might be troubling you? If so, I hope that you will stay close to them over the years. The investment of time in friendship involves the discipline of being there for another person, even when you might be busy or simply not in the mood. But whatever you sow in the garden of friendship, you will reap tenfold as your enduring affection will be repaid abundantly in ways you cannot now foresee.

19 Comments

  1. So true! If nothing else, my view is the big things are often out of our control, and that makes the little things mean all the more.

    • Yes, one can create a lot of happiness– for oneself and for countless others– by paying more attention to the “little” opportunities and possibilities, and less attention to the big, ultimately inevitable problems. Perhaps that is the heart of what is often called the serenity prayer.

  2. Beautiful, Julia. I have always been impressed by the way you keep in contact & have learned much from you about how to maintain a long-lasting friendship.  I know I owe you a response to your last email. 😉  But I wanted to take just a moment to tell you how much your friendship means to me. Love you much!! Barb Winters Hope Community Church, Wildwood, FL Follow me on facebook

    • Barb, I’ve said it before, but I honestly believe I would not be here online if not for you. When we met I knew nothing about social media, Facebook, blogging etc. and your early advice and encouragement made this blog possible for me. WOW, that’s a huge thing. No hurry on the email response; you know well how slow I am with such things! Love and gratitude always!

      • Wow!
        Thanks to Barb from me, too!

  3. Steve Bodiford

    Julia,
    Your words ring so true regarding friendship and the sweetness it brings to one’s life. All the attributes contained in your description of your friend Jena, are a commodity worth seeking yet, not often found!
    At this point in our lives, we should take great time to nurture friendships that do mirror our faith in God and encourage a selfless love for others. Thank you for sharing what can be possible for us all~

    • Thank you, Steve. It’s always a joy to see you here. It has been a long time since our Lipscomb days but I know we both are still in touch with dear friends we met there, and also special people we knew before then, and those we met afterwards along the way. As you say, the older we grow, the more important those friendships become. I appreciate your being here and sharing! P.S. I’m seldom on Facebook but when I see your photos there I always enjoy them. I’m happy your interest in photography has stood the test of time!

  4. Carolyn Miller

    Yes I do. Julia you are a special friend to me. I hope that when we come back to Va. We can see each other. Things are going pretty good for me right now. Just lots of things we are having to get done before we can travel again. Hope you and Matt are well. Send me a note With a number that I can reach you with. Take care and hugs you and Matt.

    • Hi Carolyn, I couldn’t find an email address for you but I will try to send you my contact info via Facebook. You are very special to us too! You are one of those rare people about whom we can say “I don’t know how we would have survived without her.” 🙂 Those friends stay in our hearts forever. Love and hugs to you too!

  5. Aww! It has been once a year every year for the past 3 years that we’ve met in person, hasn’t it? Wow! Time flies!

    • Yes, I had to really stop and think about it because it seemed that we knew each other for a long time before we met. Coming up on 7 years I think. Amazing. Time really does fly, whether we’re having fun or not. So we need to enjoy as much as we can, whatever the circumstances.

  6. A fine tribute to your friend! I have not made a fiend though blogging–just shared mutual admiration via comments!–you are fortunate to have met her in person!
    I have two very close friends I have known for two decades or more, and recently saw my oldest friend. Such a pleasure to sit at a coffee shop outdoors with her and her new pup, sip coffees, and eat cones, catch up and laugh.
    The very best thing sometimes is a phone call from/to or a visit in person with your friends. A rare solace and pleasure in tough times, it remains a happy respite and sharing in good times, as well.

    • A new pup! That makes you a doggie Auntie, right? 😀 Coffee, cones and conversation sound like the PERFECT combination to me – throw in the canine and it’s over-the-top bliss. Online connection is great and writing allows for unique bonding, but you are right, there is nothing quite like the sound of a person’s voice. Thank God for friends, in good times and bad.

  7. Good morning, Julia!
    You are right (again), and I am so blessed!
    Just this weekend I went horseback riding with one friend and then did gardening and yardwork with another. I might be sore from head to toe, but I’m immensely happy and grateful. (And it wasn’t even my yard! LOL)
    Seeing many of my friends and family involve taking a trip, and it can be hard to carve out the time, but each visit prooves to be worth the investment.
    Life stresses come and go, but friendship is such a wonderful gift.
    Love to you, my friend!

    • Susan, I’m so happy you had two such great get-togethers in one weekend. Now the investment of time will pay dividends in the form of happy memories. Thanks for sharing this, and so much else, with me! Sending love and hugs. 🙂

  8. Connie Reed

    Julia, that was a very nice blog. Isn’t it wonderful to know that there are friends all over supporting you in your days of grief as well as your days of joy. It is those friends that no matter how long it has been, since you have spoken, that they are are always there for you. I know I find comfort in knowing that there will always be someone there for me should I need them. Oh…and by the way, I loved the book mark! I will always treasure it!

    • Connie, I’m glad you got the bookmark and liked it! Sometimes the mail seems a bit, shall we say, unpredictable lately. Yes, friendships have kept me going, in one way or another, ever since I can remember. What a blessing in life to know people who shine so brightly. ❤

  9. Sheila

    Julia, as I’m recalling our first in person meeting, it was more about the feelings than the words. We had shared many posts and comments, many laughs and tears, and a bond of being “southern sisters” (one smart and one understanding) before we met at Jeff’s service. Friendship is so special and ours is certainly GOLDEN to me! Thank you for the recent note and Brookgreen Gardens postcard. Thank you for your prayers, my friend. We boarded up 428 and spent Hurricane Dorian here. Wednesday night and most of Thursday dealt us fierce winds and some flooded streets. We lost much of our recent beach renourishment but hope with time the ocean will give it back. It’s amazing! ♥️🌊 Your post is beautiful, as is your friendship with Jena. I enjoyed it so much. Heart refreshment💛

    • Sheila, I am glad to know that you survived the storm with (hopefully) not too much damage. Although it must be frightening, I somehow imagine there is a kind of wild beauty to being on the beach during a storm, hearing the winds blow and the surf crashing. I wondered how much of the storm would reach our York home, but it seems there was nothing out of the ordinary. I found just a few smaller tree branches here and there, really fewer than in some thunderstorms. Thanks for being here with us – GOLDEN is a good way to describe our bond. Soon the bugs will be retreating for the winter and we can sit out on the Virtual Verandah after the sunset with some hot tea and fleece throws to keep us warm! ❤

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