March 2019 E-News
Seasons of Friendship
"Don’t walk in front of me… I may not follow
Don’t walk behind me… I may not lead
Walk beside me… just be my friend."
 Albert Camus
My best friend in elementary school was named Beaver Arzbaecher. Really. Before starting high school he made the strategic decision to go by his birth name William, but when I knew him he was Beaver. We did many of the things 5 th grade boys do, including shooting baskets in the driveway, sleep over at each other’s house, and harass his sisters and my brothers. In between these activities we would hit each other with inflatable swords. It was a great friendship.  

By 7 th grade we were spending much less time together and by 10 th grade we barely said hello in the hallway between classes.  In spite of the fact that we lived 3 doors from each other, I honestly don’t remember seeing Beaver the last few years of high school. 

Beaver provided an early lesson in the transitory nature of friendship. Good friends come and go, based on all kinds of factors. I’m not one who thinks we should maintain contact with every friend we’ve had through the years. It just doesn’t feel possible. But as I age, I do find myself thinking more about old friends. And I’m grateful for the friends who intersected my life at different times and seasons. There is a kind of connection that is almost spiritual with these people. I don’t fully understand it, but I feel it.

Blessings to you as you take time to think about your friends, past and present. 
Reflection Question
Are there friends you have transitioned from and those who still remain?

On the Road to Transition

Friends are like leaves on a tree. Some hold fast until winter’s frost, while others blow in and out of our lives like a strong wind.

I met Toni when I was working in Washington D.C. for a company specializing in making loans to small businesses. I worked in accounting, and Toni was hired as the President’s new Administrative Assistant.

Our connection was instant. Toni was like someone you’ve always known, but somehow just met. I was drawn to her intelligence, quick wit, and charming southern demeanor she carried with her from her home state of Arkansas.

Soon after we met, a friendship was forged. We had both been art majors, we loved nature and going to the movies. We were in and out of relationships like revolving doors, and we never cared who won the Super Bowl. Laughter came easily and we also had our share of tears. When our hearts were broken, we’d talk for hours trying to figure out how it all went wrong… again!

Many years later, Toni announced she had met the “ One .” Our ten year friendship was about to change. She would transition from my best friend to someone’s wife. And I had to figure out what to do, now that my right arm had gone missing.

I was apprehensive about my new life without my “partner in crime.” Until I made new friends and embraced new interests, I had to go it alone. I was confused and thrown off balance. How could I ever get back on course? But with time and patience with myself, apprehension and fear gave way to hope. I joined a book club, volunteered at the public library and became a potter.

Toni and I still talk on the phone about movies we’ve seen, and matters of the
heart. We reminisce about years past, and laugh about situations we had gotten ourselves into and somehow found our way out of. I think of our special bond and how it has endured over time. Holding on like that last leaf in winter.

Alice Barbera
Appalachian Women's Retreat

Join us as we explore the story of Hildegard of Bingen to frame our stories and to deepen connections with our mystical, contemplative, and creative sides. On this retreat, you can expect: Away time to disconnect from routines, connect with self...

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Crossing the River:
Finding Resiliency in Times of Change

A Coed Mini-Retreat
Denver, CO
June 15, 2019

Register here:
March Blog
Hildegard, Our Guide

In preparing for the upcoming Appalachian Women's Retreat, I found it quite challenging to think about the ways in which I might relate to Saint Hildegard of Bingen, our spiritual guide for the retreat. Hildegard was a German Benedictine abbess...

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"We're Going to be Friends"
by Jack White
"Lean on Me" by Bill Withers
Good News Corner
Friends helping friends can change our lives as we transition through difficult times.
Woman Publicly Thanks Friends For How They Risked...

Not many people know how to help a friend who is suffering from depression - which is why film critic and writer Sheila O'Malley felt compelled to publicly praise her friends for how they helped her when she needed it most.

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Doug Wysockey-Johnson     
Dan Quinlan  
Alice Barbera  
Rebecca Perry-Hill