Wednesday, December 12, 2007


OK, so I got out my old 1984 wall calendar last night, right before going to bed. What? What's that you say? You can't believe I still have my wall calendar from 1984? Really? You can't? Well then you don't know me very well! Believe it, baby. Believe. It.

So, as I was saying, I got out my old 1984 wall calendar last night, and I finished a project I started 23 years ago. Twenty. Three. Years. Ago.

What's that you say? Who has a "To Do" list that is 23 years old? Well, again, I do. Get over it.

23 years ago I got the calendar of a lifetime, artwork by Corita Kent, my GURU, may she R.I.P. It's a series, 12 pieces that flow from one to the other with their words and with the paint brush.

The theme is moments. Loving all of them. Loving the dark moments. Loving the light moments. Loving the moments in between.

I'll be damned if the message isn't just as pertinent to me as it was in 1984.

But here's the funny thing. I'm a neurotic keeper of the birthdays. I always know when everyone's birthday is, and in 1984 I was even WORSE. Almost every day has the name of someone I guess I acknowledged. Scary thing is, 3/4 of these names don't ring one damn bell for me now. Not. A. Bell. Who the hell were these people that I just HAD to recognize, that I can't even conjure up a face for now?

They were flashes in the pan. They were in my moment then. Not now.

But some of the names? The other 1/4? I am still in touch with. 23 years later they are still in my life, and I love them more now than I did then.

They were the real deal. Life-long friends. They were in my moment. They ARE in my moments now.

Is one better than the other? Can we find just as much value from a short-lived friendship, as from a long one?

Maybe. Some come in, burn bright, then explode and disappear. But while they burn bright, that moment of intensity is so bright its glow carries you for many "moments" afterwards. Many lifetimes, maybe.

Last night I had dinner with three old friends, For eighteen years we've been friends. I was a young, single, poor, hopeful, naive new teacher when I met them. I am older, married, saddled with kids and minus the naivete now. Still hopeful, though. Still think I can make a difference in the world. Eighteen years and we are all still trying to make the difference in the lives of children. We are still who we were then, in that moment. We have had many moons and moments pass between us since, but we really haven't changed much.

Are friendships here to change us? Do others change for having known us? Can we make a difference in the lives of others and yet maintain the status quo? Is it possible to throw ourselves into the lives of others and not ripple their waters? Do we make a small kerplunk or a big, giant, tidal wave? Does it just depend? On what?

The moment. Different moments, different stokes for different folks. We are all different. And so much alike. We need each other. Sometimes we need a small kerplunk that reverberates quietly for years and years. Sometimes we need a messy, crashing wave that comes along, sweeps clean all that is not anchored down in our lives and washes it away. When the storm recedes we see what is left. What is left is real. What was illusion is gone. Those stormy friends can be very significant, no matter how short-lived. We are profoundly changed from having known them.

The twelve calendar pages were cut from their binding last night. Each page cropped to fit its own frame, then inserted inside between glass and cardboard. Shiny glass on the front, strong, sturdy cardboard on the back. One side with the glory, one side there for support, taking a back seat to the spotlight, but making the other side useless without it. Two parts that aren't good until they come together. Two types of friends, no good to us unless we have both. Some friends are shiny and get all the glory. Some are strong, sturdy, there every time you need them, happy to recede into the wings of your life stage, catch you when you fall, come out when you need a hand, then go back quietly again until the next time.






Forever friends.

Big, splashy friends.



Kim said...

Amazing, powerful post. I just had dinner last night with two women I have been best friends with since college, circa 1989. It's pretty incredible to have deep conversations about marriage, motherhood, and life with the same women with whom I once did six-foot bong hits. We know how lucky we are.

Maddy said...

I am hoping to see my oldest friend in a couple of weeks when we go back to England. We're known each other since we were 7 [I'm 47 now]

Friendships are essential.
Best wishes

This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"until blogger comments get themselves sorted out.

Ziji Wangmo said...

I love the idea of friends serving different parts of our lives. I think when we expect someone to be ALL that's when the relationship breaks down. UNderstanding that one person can't possibly give us everything we need allows them to freely be the person they are.

ps. I can't believe you have a calendar from 1984!

holly said...

I just got a call from my oldest friend this morning. The enduring friendships and the flash in the pans who streaked across my life, they're all special, hold their sacred spaces and I woulnd't trade any. I good thing to think about and so timely for me!

and Kim, I bet you and those women had some universe-shaking, deep conversations about life over six-foot bong hits!

La La said...

Thanks, Carrie. I needed. to. hear. that. TODAY.

(I graduated from high school in 1984. I thought the world was going to end that year. That's what my grandma told me!)

shauna said...

Thank you for this post. I'm teary here as I read it in the library. I'm in the middle of one of those storms and I'm amazed at how many people have rallied around me--both in the bloggy world and in the real community of neighbors and local friends. And I have to say, right now, I don't care if they're flash-in-the-pan friends, or until-the-dying-day friends. Regardless they're keeping me afloat in this difficult moment. And for that I am grateful. Thanks for the reminder...

Terry Whitaker said...

Your essence is inside and outside every line of this post.

Oddly, I was just thinking yesterday about how one person I knew for one year over eighteen years ago and have never seen again still affects my world view on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of a saying that I hold in my heart.

A friend can be there for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. We never know until the end which category a person falls into for us, or where we fall for them.

It helps me to embrace each person in the moment.

Thanx for sharing.

Suzy said...

Amazing post.

Just lost a friend of 30 years, possibly two. (I'm doing well these days).

But the amazing thing is that I don't miss them.

We thought we'd be in each other's lives forever, but no one counted on any of us ever changing.

Too bad they couldn't.

Love you


Anonymous said...

I loved your post so much Carrie (and I really was not surprised that you had a calendar from 198, To Do list and all). I treasure all my friendships, like the gifts that they are. Most of my friendships go way back, even to 4th grade (she's my best bud, as is a high school friend and a college friend). I love and treausre my new friends, including the ones I have met here in the bloggy world, some who I have felt as if I have known forever and would care just as much about their well being and happiness. Friendships are true blessings that help us naviagate through the ups and downs and make us a laugh like crazy!!

I use to be one of those silly, immature people who when I was hurt or upset would do the silent treatment, instead of just addressing it directly. Boy have I come a long way, and I thank God for that. Not only do I feel like a better person for it, but, friendships are so worth nurtuing!!! Not loosing over stupid pride.

P.S. So glad you "found" my talented and very special friend Shauna!!

Jess said...

Well, you almost made me cry here... Makes me think a lot about several friends who I no longer speak to or am no longer as close to, and they ways they have affected me. Makes me think about my best friend from childhood, who I have known since I was six, whose wedding I am going to in June. Makes me think of the great friends I have made in the last few years.

I'm with you in deep love and appreciation for all of them.

Casdok said...

Lovely post!

Michelle O'Neil said...

Amazing post Carrie. It reminds me of life. Short lives are no less valuable or meaningful than long ones, all are different, serving different purposes.

And hold up....Kim did six foot bong hits?


kario said...

Very cool, Carrie! I love that you kept this calendar and I love that you created something out of it 23 years later.

We human beings are social creatures, aren't we? I am very glad to count you among those whom I consider to be my friend.


Go Mama said...

Great post Carrie.

Nancy said...

"Is it possible to throw ourselves into the lives of others and not ripple their waters?" AI think not. I love the cardboard and the glass. Beautiful images.

Jerri said...

Beautiful post, Ms. Link.

Ripples, tidal waves, kerplunks. It's all movement. It's all part of the great I AM, a current that carries us through our lives.

Blessings, Friend.

Anonymous said...

What was the project?

Manic Mom said...

I keep all my old calendars too! And record special moments and memories also!

Julie Christine said...

I love your post, how you have managed to capture with colorful metaphors the ebb and flow of friendships, describing how they move through our lives….“Some come in, burn bright, then explode and disappear. But while they burn bright, that moment of intensity is so bright its glow carries you for many ‘moments’ afterwards.” Beautifully put, Carrie!

Deb said...

Lovely thoughts. Beautiful, heart-felt writing. Thank you for the soul food.

riversgrace said...

This really IS an amazing post, and you know what makes it so....that every word is born from your experience. That's what touches deeply, because I know you know exactly the sensation of both, and everything in between. And that makes wisdom.

But I gotta say...still reeling from Kim's confession. SO funny. Been there, don't remember anyone else.

Lee Wolfe Blum said...

I love this post and can see it in Oprah magazine. It is beautifully written and captures the true essence of female friendships. Thanks so much.