Tag Archive | best friend

The Emotional Jackpot

Mom 8th grade graduation

Mom’s 8th grade graduation picture. Mom is at far right.

As I was thinking about what to write in my blog this week, I picked up my mom’s little black book again. This is the little hardcover “Memorandum Book” that Stella Lillesand, my mom’s Sunday School teacher, had given her in 1921, when Mom was 13 years old. Mom had used this book to write down Bible verses as she memorized them starting on October 2, 1921 and ending on August 5, 1923.

Her first entry was “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14) Her last entry was “But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord.” (I Corinthians 15:57)

I decided to look up any verse she might have memorized the last week in January, this week almost 100 years ago. On January 29, 1922 she wrote, “A friend loveth at all times.” (Proverbs 17:17) When I read that, I thought I’d hit the emotional jackpot. My best friend, Mim, and I have celebrated the week between January 24 and February 1 for the last 27 years.

Moms Memorandum Book - Jan 29 1922

January 29, 1922 – Bottom of left page

The last week in January of 1973 I met Mim at a small group Bible Study in Chicago. I had just accepted a position as an editorial researcher for The World Book Encyclopedia and I needed to find an apartment, move into it, and be ready to start my new job in three days. I was staying with my friend, June, while I looked for an apartment, and I’d gone with June to her church Bible Study.

After the Bible Study, Mim walked across the room to talk with June and to meet me. When Mim found out I was under pressure to find an apartment and move in three days, she invited me to stay with her in her apartment until I found a place of my own – regardless of how long that might take. On February 1 of this year, we will have lived together 43 years. I never did find a place of my own.

M-M Lounging in our first apartment cropped

Mim and me in our first apartment in Chicago – 1973

By the time Mim and I had lived together 16 years our friendship had deepened and our lives had become quite intertwined. When a close friend of ours died without a will, we realized we should have wills and power of attorney documents drawn up for ourselves. We asked our Lutheran pastor if he would be a witness to the signing of our wills. He said he would be happy to do that, but also suggested that we might want to have a Blessing Ceremony for the church to bless our loving relationship and our lifetime commitment to each other. Both Mim and I thought that was a great idea, and on January 24, 1989 our pastor and a few close friends gathered in our home for our Blessing Ceremony.

BC-1 MM Steve

A picture from our Blessing Ceremony – 1989

Just two and a half years ago, on September 15, 2013, we added one more date to our list of anniversaries to celebrate – the day we were legally married.

All three of these dates are very significant to us. Being legally married conveyed the same rights and privileges to us that all other legally married couples have. That’s a huge relief from a practical standpoint. The Blessing Ceremony is when God and the church blessed our commitment to love and cherish each other for the rest of our lives. The day Mim and I met each other and Mim offered me her friendship, along with a place to stay, marked the beginning of a loving friendship that was surely a precious gift from God.

M-M Close-up - cropped

Our Wedding Picture – 2013

I think God put a pretty bow on this gift, perhaps a “God-wink,” by letting me discover that the Bible verse my mom memorized the last week in January of 1922 was “A friend loveth at all times.” God gave me the gift of a very special best friend 43 years ago, a friend who loves me at all times, just as God intends for us.

A friend loves at all times - cropped

What Best Friends Talk About

One of the nice things about living with your best friend for forty years, is that you’re comfortable with regularly sharing your thoughts with each other. Mim is an avid reader, and almost every day she tells me about something she’s reading in one of the books she has in progress. Likewise, I tell her about interesting things I find on the Internet, and occasionally in books, magazines, or newspapers.

Senator HironoLast Friday provided a good example of our two-way sharing of thoughts. I did a quick check of emails and Facebook before going upstairs for breakfast, my usual pattern.  A friend of mine had posted this picture (on the right) of Senator Hirono on Facebook.

I printed out the picture for Mim, along with a thoughtful piece by Joan Chittister on the “weariness” of the people of the church worldwide, and how Pope Francis may really bring some new hope. The new pope’s humility may indicate an ability and willingness to understand some of the concerns of the poor, and to respond lovingly to their practical needs, just as Christ would respond.

An hour later I was back at my desk, and Mim came downstairs to ask me if I knew anything about Teilhard de Chardin. I said he was one of the theologians we studied in a religion class my senior year at Wheaton. That was 43 years ago, and about all I remembered was his name. Mim said she had just read an interesting quote by him. “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

What a clear way of describing the perspective on life I need to keep in mind! As spiritual beings, we are not confined by our human experience. That says a lot to me. I’ve been thinking more than usual about the temporary nature of life on earth. In the last few weeks, four people have died who have been extremely close to my nieces and nephews – a best friend, a mother, a father, and a mother-in-law. How comforting to know that they are spiritual beings, and that their spirit lives on. We all are spiritual beings, and our existence doesn’t end just because our human experience on earth has ended.

Now you know. The secret is out. This is what lesbians talk about in the morning – at least those who have been best friends for forty years.

Family Portrait - 2012    Kevin Korth, photographer

Family Portrait – 2012 – Kevin Korth, photographer