Isn’t it funny how we meet people seemingly accidentally and then discover life would never have been the same without them ? Jeannette sat alone in church, and one Sunday, I made it a point to join her. We sang out of tune at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Keokea on Maui. We chatted and I invited her for tea and lunch to be company for my Mom. The two cocooned on the couch and spoke one or the other always smiling and nodding. I wasn’t quite sure they understood any words as Jeannette tried to remember the French and my Mom would slide into Romanian yet they still cordially carried on like two birds in flight from tree to shrub and twig to fence. The household seemed livelier as Jeannette came along in rides to the stores, and stayed to help me in the kitchen. She insisted on holding my cutting board as I chopped peppers, onions, and carrots galore. We meshed in stirring, mashing, and pouring while doting on my Mom with a little of this and that. We found laughter in the fridge, on the stove, and over the table. Little by little we said it all and she was there to dry my tears and understood what I could not. She was the HOPE I wished in life for a friend. She said I was the FAITH she needed to hear from a friend. Her story carved a statue in marble. Her strength dissolved iron. Her gentleness feathered a breeze.
Even now that she departed, I wish to be nearer—she was a lady of poise galore. Sometimes, I stop and sense her presence, perhaps it’s just the memory. Ours was a friendship born in prayer. I HOPE as she hoped.
Alike I had become friends with Cindy whom I visited at Upcountry Legends, her store. She called my little guys “the group” and somehow from the start we cinched a friendship in conversation about God. Yeah, the island attracts all kinds of people. We met to talk about everything God related. She gave me a book that sits on my shelf A PARENTHESIS IN ETERNITY, by JOEL S. GOLDSTEIN. Of its entire content which I love, her note on the cover is best and filled with her LOVE …and that is Cindy’s story. Petit and smart even as a child, she still walks on clouds as her mother appropriately reminded the family. She was born and raised in New York City, and used her daughter’s name for the shoe store: Taryn. I honestly don’t know how she sold anything as she mostly spoke to everyone of God. We cannot exhaust the topic and this is where Jeannette joined the party. We three nested our lives in resolving the craters of sadness by refusing to stay stuck in the “mucks.” We mastered the art of finding the best in the moment. Our dearest Cindy was the one among us who as a child prayed to God for wisdom. I was stumped and ashamed as I prayed for pretty knees.
Jeannette said OoLaLa as a rule, and I can’t remember but the story of a sign in her Dad’s Office:
“A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?”
In words we played in puns and poems energized by baked scones to have with tea; we were nearly always certain to be all joyful… Together we humbly recalled the stories of our whole lives, timidly confessing in concert with our Lord, we boasted to being Hope, Love, and Faith. As mothers, we could share the best defining moments of our children and to be given with no reserve; our friendship simply tripled as though sealed in sisterhood. We were present for the passing of parents and a spouse, a daughter’s and son’s wedding, illnesses, and more, much more. We reached out to nurture when sadly needed, and celebrated canoe races, graduations, High Teas, and holidays. Leis upon leis upon leis and the whispers, and talks, and promenades. The labyrinth invited our prayers; these were ones we gave in silence to our heavenly Father. We walked Thomson Road, visited galleries, and met at Grandma’s Coffee House in Keokea, stood at the shore of Paia’s Fish House where memories are sealed withe the sand, had tea at the Makawao Steak House Tea Room, had lunch at Serpico’s Pizza in Pukalani, met at Shaka’s Pizza in Kihei, visited for tea at the glorious Lavender Farm, picked camphor twigs from Tedeski’s Winery garden in Ulupalakua, and attended the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. Dr. Wayne Dyer and Marianne Williamson spoke of things that really, truly mattered. It all made sense.
There came a day when the roller coater of life separated us. Though we checked in to keep in touch, the hardest call was to hear Jeannette departed. Her daughter Barbara remained alone. Her daughter Linda had visited numerous times and when we spoke, I could hear her Mom in her voice. Eulogizing our friend of HOPE from earth to heaven, I can speak for Cindy too by saying “Mahalo God for Jeannette’s sincere Aloha.” We will meet again, for sure, for real, at the other shore.
As for our dearest Cindy, Jeannette and I were present the day she crowned her name to be coupled with LOVE. Her first dear husband had departed, and the three of us girls in church singing out of tune whole hearted, heard an angelic voice behind us. Just a week before I stated I felt it in my veins, someone special was in her horizon. Nana Mouskori was singing “I Believe in Angels” and I was dancing. Cindy said, “Oh, come on. He would have to love God, be surrounded by books, and fall from the sky.” Ironically, or coincidentally, Paul suited all three even the third request by being a NASA engineer who tracks satellites. He and Cindy will be celebrating their eleventh wedding anniversary in August. The day they met, Jeannette was so excited, she backed her BMW into a pole. We called it the dimple of HOPE.
I was dubbed FAITH. I can hardly contain my excitement and HOPE not to back into anything as Cindy and Paul are coming to visit in one, two, no, three months for four glorious days at the end of May, hooray !!
“Friendship … is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
― C.S. Lewis,
Can you relate with a friend’s story ?