Monday, November 21, 2011

Smiling Brightly

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born. - Anais Nin

A year ago, at a teacher workshop day before Thanksgiving, I took a seat next to a new teacher at our school. Although I had exchanged pleasantries with her over the past few months and had offered her my assistance as she began her new job, this was the first time we’d had a real chance to get to know one another. Both partial to scribbling notes as to make sense of these professional development discussions, Binaca and I struck up conversations discussing everything from work to our families and our Thanksgiving To-Do lists. When we met I had just made the decision to take in a foreign exchange student who needed a new host family and knowing she was moving in over the holiday, my To-Do list was especially large. She listened to me as I excitedly told her of my plans for this new addition to our family and she helped me troubleshoot how to make room for the teenage girl in my home.

At one point, the two of us began discussing blogs. I had been thinking of starting my own blog but I had no idea what to do or where to start. Binaca enthusiastically began jotting down suggestions on where to begin and her support of my ideas was immediate. I remember leaving that day thinking, “Wow. I could actually make this happen...” A month later I began this blog. I credit Binaca’s encouragement for the reason I took a step out of my comfort zone in setting it up.

We became friends on Facebook and started sharing our lives outside of school with one another. A bit cautious with friendships at work, knowing a few have not been true in the past, I knew I was taking another leap of faith here. But if you have ever met Binaca, you know that this young woman’s level of compassion and altruistic ways lead even a hesitant soul like me to a place of trust. It felt good to be able to talk and not second guess myself. It felt nice to have someone speak so positively about my efforts with teens. A beautiful person inside and out, Binaca has offered me much more than a few gallons of water when I was without power at my home or chocolates (or cheese doodles?!) when I needed them most this past year. She has given me the precious gift of a trusted friendship at work without asking or expecting anything in return.

Still, it's important that I make some small gesture as repayment for her generosity and friendship. So this morning as we both made the connection that today was the first year anniversary of our friendship, I gave Binaca heads up that I felt “a blog post coming on”. And in realizing we had not yet taken a picture together, the two of us plopped down in front of my laptop camera and smiled brightly.

There’s a particular quote that comes to mind when I think of my new friend: "A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words”. These words from Bernard Meltzer are most fitting.

Binaca, thank you for the laughs and the smiles we’ve shared, for the support you’ve offered and for lifting my spirit when I grow overwhelmed and tired. It is no coincidence that we found one another last year, a few days before Thanksgiving. There is perhaps no better time for me to have made a new friend, one I am most grateful to have in my life. I know you will be a friend for life, in and out of the workplace. I am truly blessed.

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