January... Admittedly not my favourite month of the year. We're over half way through the 2018 version of this dreaded month and it's already been jam packed with some unexpected worry and heartache. But... like life so often does, there have been some beautiful lessons tucked in with the tough stuff. Interestingly... there's even been a theme to the month: FRIENDSHIP.
My friendship circle is surprisingly small. It always has been. It's grown over the past couple of years and I'm very grateful for that but what I feel the most gratitude for is the type of friends I've come to know. Over the years, a few were fairweather and I eventually realized there wasn't going to be a genuine connection over the long haul. The majority, however have been steadfast, loyal, and the ride-or-die kind. My bestie from junior high/high school (like from 28 years ago)... some very special former coworkers... a wonderful woman that I went to nursing school with (and she later helped deliver my son)... a hubby/wife duo that we've only known for a few short years and yet their friendship has imprinted upon our hearts in a way that makes them feel like family. There have been other friends too... those that I've lost touch with but I know that with one message or a phone call - we'd pick up exactly where we left off. There also those friends whom I'm just getting to know but I can feel in my bones that there's a deep and long lasting friendship budding beneath the surface. I'm so very blessed to have all of these people in my life but the two that have inspired this blog post are special in their own way. One is a UNICORN and one is an ANGEL - and yes I mean unicorn and angel in every sense of the words.
I'll start by sharing what these two have in common. They have both inspired me. They have both been very courageous. They've both had struggles that most of us can't even imagine enduring. They both have beautiful hearts! They both came into my life quite unexpectedly and serendipitously! And this past month - they both had a significant turn of events on their journey.
My unicorn friend... we share some magical coincidental similarities. Right down to our birthdays being less than two weeks apart - I mean we REALLY have a lot in common. We're about the same height, we are the same age, we are both Mamas to only-children. Heck, even our sister's share a common birthday. These commonalities aren't what really amazes me though. Who SHE is does. She chooses to seek out the beauty in everything - even the difficult times. She's fragile yet so, so strong. She's imaginative and seemingly sees things in a completely different dimension through her creative spirit. She gives and gives - and she also forgives when she's been hurt. She is resilient, authentic, genuine, transparent, and kind to her core. She's silly and funny and embraces her inner child. She's magnetic and draws in other wonderful people into her circle - then shares them freely with others. Everyone else sees her as MAGICAL too. So many other people love her, want to support her, and BELIEVE in her as readily as I do.
My angel friend... I didn't get to know as well as I would have liked but I was drawn to her instantly. She was the fairy-tale example of someone who worked through tremendous adversity (again and again) and yet came out of it all only to spread light and love in every direction. She was selfless... wise... humble... generous... funny and compassionate. She was a profound leader but would have never seen herself that way I'm sure. People rallied behind her causes because her passion was contagious and people BELIEVED in her too. She created more kindness ripples than could ever be counted. She's set an example that each and every one of us should follow and she's created a legacy that her people will carry on. She has been the example to me of what an "Earth Angel" really is and I feel incredibly grateful that our paths have crossed.
So what have these two special people taught me through their friendship in the past few weeks?
Well my unicorn friend has had some unexpected medical issues crop up this month and I found myself wanting to be with her as much as possible. I was worried about her and I wanted to help take care of her however I could. She has an extremely supportive friend and family network and I was one small piece of the puzzle. She let me help (maybe more than she needed me to) because I think she knew it was helping me worry less. I was so incredibly humbled by how graceful she's been through her entire ordeal. She demonstrated patience and courage where I probably would have lost it. She's even gone further to actually share her story through her own blog entries - with the hopes that it will reach others who can relate and maybe need to see that they aren't alone. I don't know many people that would work so hard to help others when going through such a vulnerable and challenging time. She's showing the rest of us to live a life of "Faith Over Fear Everyday". So why do I call her my unicorn friend? Well - you'll have to check out her story in her own words to find out. Read it here: https://www.faithoverfeareveryday.com/
And my angel friend... Well this wonderful "Earth Angel" earned her real angel wings just over a week ago. This past Saturday, I had the honour of attending her Celebration of Life and I got to hear from so many other people just how special she was. Oh the lives she's touched! The inspiration she's spread around! The incredible people that were drawn to her circle! I wish I could have gotten to know her as the friend she was to so many of the people who knew her longer. I met her at a pivotal point in my life - when I was losing my Dad just over 3 years ago - and she's been an instrumental inspiration to our Circle of Angels project. I'm seeing now just how the ripples created by one person can truly create more ripples at infinitum. One of her gifts to us all is the Angels Anonymous Connection and I encourage everyone to check out her charity: https://angelsanonymous.org/. Better yet... make a donation... get involved... and may we all strive to follow the "Earth Angel" example she's set for us. She once said to me (during one of our chats that could have gone on for days)... "If you give people the opportunity to help... they always will." She was so, so right and this is an important lesson to carry with me. I will miss this amazing woman but I'm committed to helping her legacy carry on.
So it's been quite the start to 2018. My eyes have been opened to a new appreciation for friendship, unicorns and angels. I'm reflecting on the lessons that two marvelous women have shown me. They've both given me a lot to aspire to do and to be... they've reminded me to just BELIEVE... and perhaps that's one of the greatest gifts that magical friends bestow upon each other! Thank you T & W. #morethanjewelry