Thursday, August 6, 2009

Amen For Friends

I had dinner last night with Peg and Marty, two long-time friends that I hadn't seen in 20 years. Wow! How can 20 years speed by like that??? Three hours later, we decided we needed to do this quarterly, as we could have sat there another 10 hours, probably, updating each other.

Marriages, divorces, deaths, grandbabies (not me, of course--I'm too young-hah!), grown children, accomplishments, challenges, gossip, updates on mutual friends, reminisces about our younger years together.....and miraculously, none of us had aged a bit!!

It truly is hard to believe that we are the ages that we are, that we have lived so much of life. I still feel so much like a teenager so much of the time--unsure, awkward, self-centered, self-involved, ageless, self-conscious. I can't fathom grandkids (I'm just launching my youngest child!), and sometimes jump back in shock when I look in the mirror--who is that older woman??

I'm not sure if that means I'm developmentally arrested or something, but at least it comes in handy with the Promise House teens. I GET them. I know who they are, how they are feeling, what their fears are, how they cover them up, what their fights are about.

What I don't know is the trauma so many of them have suffered--shuffled through the foster care system, abused at the hands of parents or step-parents, kicked out of their homes for one thing or another, trying to make it on their own.

I know the effects of that trauma, but I can never say to any of them that I understand what they have been through. I can only sit and listen, create a holding environment in which they feel safe enough to walk back through it all. And hopefully, heal a little.

To me, one of the worst effects of their trauma and transience is the loss of history and long-term connections. I've talked about this alot, and it is the one thing that makes me want to take them all home and create a history and a family connection for them.

I feel extremely fortunate to have long-term connections such as my friends Peg and Marty; my next-door and across the street neighbors of 20 years; my siblings; my graduate school buddies. They are my history and I am theirs. Even if I don't see them for another 20 years, I know if I needed any of them, I could call and they would be there in an instant.

The lack of these connections for our kids makes working with them very poignant. What keeps me going is that hopefully, they see us as that long-term connection and a major part of their history; a friend they can call on anytime--even 20 years from now--if they need help; that we are their anchor in the turbulent waters of their lives.

Like Peg and Marty are to me, we are to them.

Amen for friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment