Thursday, November 05, 2009
I know I already did a post recently about friends, but I have to do another. That one was about my three best friends in Heber. Since then I had to teach a lesson in Relief Society about friendship. When I asked what makes a good friend to the class, one woman replied with something like, "People who share common values. My very closest friends are all LDS because the thing dearest to us, the gospel, is the same." That is a lovely sentiment, but it certainly doesn't hold true for me.
When I taught my class I brought a bunch of pictures. Each one was of me with one of my closest friends (something I will not do again because as much fun as it was and nice as is was to have a visual for once it made me incredibly self-conscious even though obviously I only brought flattering pictures of myself). There were multiples of a few friends. I brought a framed picture of Jen and I and a framed picture of Lisa and I. I met Lisa in sixth grade and I met Jen in eighth. If someone were to ask me the childhood question of "Who is your best friend?", I would have to say, "Lisa and Jen."
Lisa started a blog this week. I am very excited. She is a great writer, funny and articulate. She is opinionated, intelligent, and sassy. Her profile is an alliteration. Our opinions overlap in some places but we have a lot of differing opinions. Lisa has been living with her darling boyfriend, Matt, for three years. Her first blog was contemplating why people bother getting married. I know that most of my readers feel very strongly about marriage, as do I, so I'm guessing she won't get many followers from this blog.
Nonetheless, differing opinions certainly have never kept us from being close, close friends. Lisa and I haven't lived in the same state since the beginning of eighth grade. She was a loyal pen pal all thru Jr. High and High School. Our first year in college we flew back and forth between Utah and California to visit each other like four times. I think as adults we have talked on the phone pretty much every week for the past 13 years (except for 5 months when we weren't speaking at all).
We get in regular heated debates. We never shy away from discussing religion (she is a devout Christian who does not attend any services) and politics (she is a liberal democrat, I vote both parties and liberally on certain issues and conservatively on others), or even The Great Pumpkin. I love hearing her point of view.
Now obviously she isn't perfect, I mean, she doesn't like old movies or Christmas music and she's perpetually tardy, but other than that she's pretty great. She likes even less romantic comedies than I do but she does have a great sense of humor. She's turned me on to a lot of great stand-up comedians and we love sharing book recommendations as we are both big readers.
The best thing about Lisa is that she listens, really listens. She knows all about each and every member of my family. She knows all about my kids, my cat, my husband, and me.
When I talked about Jen and Lisa in Relief Society I mentioned that I call them for different reasons when I'm annoyed with my husband. I call Jen for sympathy. "He's such a jerk!", she'll tell me when he's frustrating me. I call Lisa for reason, "Well, he's probably doing that because..." Lisa and Brandon are alike in lots of ways and she can always see things from his point of view. It also helps that she began her education in psychology and has experience as a counselor.
Did I mention that Lisa rocks? Oh yea, she rocks. Lisa was born in Long Island, New York but moved to California early in elementary school. I met her there while my family lived in CA for 2.5 years. Lisa was the smartest girl in the grade and also an "early bloomer", so despite her braces and frizzy hair, she still got attention from the boys. Lisa comes from a very religious family and I loved praying with them. Her house was so weird because her only sibling is 13 years her senior so she was the only one living at home, whereas I had six siblings at my house.
Lisa finished college and went on to get her teaching certificate. She was a very dedicated and talented elementary teacher. She had always longed to go back to New York and when she found a Master's program that paid your tuition if you taught in a special education program at an at-risk school for the NYC school district she applied and was accepted. She left her mother, who she talks to everyday, and all her friends in California and packed up and moved across the country where she only knew relatives. It took a lot of guts and I was really proud.
She struggled with the bureaucracies of teaching and coupled with stress, poor money management, few friends, and health problems, had to make major life changes again a couple years later. She changed careers and went into medical sales and began eating healthier, relying on more holistic health regimes, and started exercising a bit obsessively. When she turned 30 last year, she was out of debt, in the best shape of her life, off of most of her medications, and had a 20% down payment saved for a house. She is now the mommy of an adorable labrador retriever and a home owner. She is supporting her boyfriend's choice to leave his career as a chef and open his own pizzeria.
Lisa, I love you.