Have you ever met someone who you just knew without a doubt that this person would be someone Important in your life, quite possibly for the rest of your life?
When I went to school at Southern Oregon (before it became a university), I met my spicy enchilada as we were both moving into our dorm. Long after I had unpacked and parked my car, I watched as she continued passing by my open door loading more and more into her room next door. I thought this woman must have packed up her entire life to go to college. I had no idea just how accurate that thought was until after she knocked on my door and invited me down to the mess hall for dinner. We bonded quickly in that first week and grew closer as the year passed. One day late in spring term we were sitting outside in the courtyard of our hall. She looked at me very seriously and asked me to just listen while she talked. I obliged while she told me how much I had impacted her life over the course of the prior nine months. She told me that my unconditional acceptance and love helped her through a very rough time. She was depressed over the “Freshman 30” she gained, but drew comfort and inspiration from my self-confidence and the fact I always saw her, not her weight. There was much more she confided in me, but through it all I was simply speechless.
Up until she said all this to me, I was very unaware of the impact I made on anyone else’s life. A part of me knew that I made a difference to others, but I had always believed that my influence was small or non-existant. How could I, just by being me, have such a significant effect on another person? I was completely floored by this revelation. What was even more amazing to me, however, was I had finally realized my Purpose in life. She showed me that I was a beacon of Light and Love. I was a lighthouse that shone through the darkness with a promise of safe harbor. To this day I can’t speak or even think about this moment with my spicy enchilada without tears springing to my eyes and a catch in my voice. You see, she’s made just as significant an impact on me as I had on her.
Our friendship would come to be what I have sought to emulate with every relationship I have begun since she and I met. We have unconditional acceptance and love. Never have either of us attempted to change the other. Our only expectation of each other is to be who we are, no matter who or what that is. We have celebrated triumphs together. We have cried and comforted each other through our struggles and low times. She is one of Boo’s first aunties. She was the first of my long-time friends who fully accepted me when I came out as poly. She wasn’t even surprised. She simply said, of course. Of course because I had so much love to give that how could I not love more than one person at any given time?
Over the next two decades we have remained good friends. We have fallen out of communication for months at a time, exchanging cards near birthdays and Yule. Perhaps chat on the phone now and then. We’ve gone years without seeing one another in person. In fact the last time I saw her was at my wedding nearly three years ago. But every time we talk or see one another it’s as if no time as passed, and we pick back up where we left off. In the 19 years we have been friends, not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. Every. Single. Day. And with each thought of her, I wish her love and happiness.
PS–Who has been that one (or few) person who has made a huge difference in your life? Comments welcome.