The Blessing of a Friend

2014-04-23 19.42.30By Stephanie Gretchen Burgevin. Stephanie is a writer and retreat leader. She is an associate faculty member of Shalem and a graduate of their Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats Program and leads spiritual and secular programs. Stephanie manages Shalem’s blog. You can see more of her writing at

The Holy Spirit shows up in all sorts of ways and places in life. I was reminded of this earlier today when one of my high school best friends called. We had stayed in touch through college and the early days of marriage, but had drifted apart once young children arrived in our lives. The busyness of babies kind of squeezed out those phone calls or letters we earlier could make time for.

Her husband died suddenly last summer. When I heard the news I looked her up and sent her a letter of love and support and a condolence card. She responded with a letter back including her phone number, and we finally were able to talk on the phone this morning. What a joy! The reconnection was food for the soul for both of us.

These kinds of connection can be brief or extended but it is the living presence of what is Holy. It doesn’t have to be a 1.5 hour long phone conversation, it can be a kind gesture of a clerk at the store, the smile of an onlooker. It is the reverberating YES of the universe. You are not alone. I/We are here with you.

But when we manage to open more fully, there is an added dimension that the vulnerability brings. As my friend and I caught up on the past 20 years we felt one another’s joys and sufferings. I carried hers and she carried mine.

This was the sharing of two souls that had spent years opening up to one another. We have a shared history of ridiculously silly behavior, arguments, all kinds of fun, and deeply moving conversations. Twenty years can pass and the soul knows no difference. I have carried her in my heart all this time, for the heart doesn’t know minutes and hours, so when I answered the phone it was like no time had passed. We were home in each other’s friendship.

So however we connect, briefly or deeply, it is a blessing, a Holy visitation in our lives.

April 04, 2014 by Shalem Institute 2 Comments
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Maureen Yantz
Maureen Yantz
10 years ago

What you have written here is so true and beautiful. Thank you, Stephanie!

Janice M. Schuyler
Janice M. Schuyler
10 years ago

Thank for sharing this reconnecting you had. I recently received birthday greetings from a high school friend who has reestablished contact since her retirement. She still calls me by my nickname, one of the few left who does, that alone brings back many memories. In a note she referred to her partner by her first name, and that was the way I learned she is gay. I wondered what her journey was been like, and I felt close to her because of the journeys of my own. This revelation made me feel very close to her. God’s peace, the truth is we are one, the illusion is we are not. JMS+


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